A Review Of The Luxury River Ship Crystal Debussy – Other Cruise News: Five “Edge” Class Ships For Celebrity Cruises – Jalesh Cruises Acquires Pacific Jewel

by Kevin Griffin

Built at MV Werften in 2018, the Crystal Debussy is one of two sister ships to have entered service on European rivers last year for Crystal River Cruises, bringing their fleet to five river ships. Last Tuesday, The Cruise Examiner, was able to visit the vessel in Amsterdam. Elsewhere, Celebrity Cruises announced an order for a fifth “Edge” class ship, the last three of which will be completed to a lengthened design. And in India, Essel Group’s Jalesh Cruises has commenced service between Mumbai and Goa with the 2,000-berth Karnika, formerly P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Jewel.


A Review Of The Luxury River Ship Crystal Debussy

Last week, four cruise agents from the UK, including Kevin Griffin representing the new Culture Cruises, flew to Amsterdam to inspect the latest Crystal River cruise vessel, Crystal Debussy, completed in 2018.

Crystal Debussy with her turtle bow

Crystal Debussy with her turtle bow

It was a sunny day.

Below is the Palm Court, the main lounge of the Crystal Debussy and her three sister ships.

The lounge, which can accommodate all 106 guests at the same time, is outfitted with skylights on both sides, allowing daylight to brighten the whole room. This lounge also boasts a full-size Steinway grand piano.

Crystal Debussy: Palm Court and Pool and Spa (Courtesy Kevin Griffin)

Crystal Debussy: Palm Court and Pool and Spa (Courtesy Kevin Griffin)

One way to assess this ship might be to read the email I sent when asked what it was like: “An excellent product. Full size but only 106 passengers.

Best river value about £5,000 per person for 16 days Amsterdam to Budapest on Crystal Mahler. Very well managed kitchen and menus. Had the edamame beans, river trout and Dutch lamb stew.

Typical American upmarket customers. The crew are 100% Crystal – no agencies, no franchises, no sub-contracted staff – they had trouble with the last of the ‘hired in’ staff creating the wrong mood.”

Unusual for river craft, the Crystal Debussy and sisters have a swimming pool, as well as spacious spa and gym. The pool is a counter-current swimming pool so you can swim continuously.

Crystal Debussy: The Bistro and its decking (Courtesy Kevin Griffin)

Crystal Debussy: The Bistro and its decking (Courtesy Kevin Griffin)

The Bistro is midships and has windows both sides for views of the river and its shores, not to mention the ship traffic. As well as a daytime haunt, the Bistro becomes a Tapas bar for informal dinners, reservations required. The decking here is interesting. The ship’s third dining venue is the 12-seat Vintage Room.

With the highest staff-to-guest ratio among all European river lines, and professionals chosen for their expertise and friendly demeanor, Crystal’s genuine hospitality sets the stage for a journey beyond compare.


Five “Edge” Class Ships For Celebrity Cruises

Coming soon after Royal Caribbean ordered a sixth “Oasis” class ship to be built at St Nazaire, Celebrity has added a fifth “Edge” class ship, for delivery in 2024.

The new ship will be bigger, at 140,600 tons, as compared to 130,818 tons for the Celebrity Edge. Length overall 1,073 feet as against 1,005 for the Celebrity Edge.

Celebrity Edge entering at Port Everglades

Celebrity Edge entering at Port Everglades

The order is not a surprise as they had an option for the fifth ship of the class.

The lengthening was also in the works for a while. The first two ships are Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex, while the third will be Celebrity Beyond. Because the work was already under way when they made the decision to change the design, the change to the longer hull will be made with the Beyond.

Jalesh Cruises Acquires Pacific Jewel

After dry docking at Singapore, the 2,000-berth cruise ship Karnika set sail from Mumbai to Goa on 17th April, followed by a gala celebration at Goa on 19th April.

Karnika (Jalesh Cruises)

Karnika (Jalesh Cruises)

Jurgen Bailom, president and ceo of Jalesh Cruises, said: “Jalesh Cruises is immensely proud to give India its first premium ship Karnika, which has been curated to indulge and entertain you in the true Indian style. She is a beautiful ship designed to enthral both domestic and international guests with the famed Indian hospitality.”

The cruise ship was previously P&O Australia’s Pacific Jewel while Bailom came to Essel Group’s Jalesh Cruises operation from Mexico’s Grupo Vidanta, and Royal Caribbean SkySeas Cruises, their now-closed one-ship China joint venture.

After last week’s naming ceremony, the Karnika entered service on the Mumbai-Goa route, with her inaugural voyage scheduled for April 19.

Pacific Jewel, in this image moored at Sydney

Pacific Jewel, in this image moored at Sydney

The cruise ship had arrived in Goa from Singapore on April 13 with 71 passengers, berthing at the international cruise terminal of Mormugao Port Trust.

The ship will now offer fifteen departures in April and May, including cruises to nowhere and also an itinerary calling on Goa, with all departures using Mumbai for turnaround. The ship will then move to Dubai until mid-September, before she repositions back to Mumbai.

Technical management is by Bernhard Schulte Cruise Services of Hamburg.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

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