Crystal Cruises has built a loyal following with its two ships primarily by delivering a great product. Now under new ownership, Crystal will try to transform itself from a luxury cruise brand to a luxury brand.
Or rather, a luxury travel brand. Crystal isn’t trying to extend itself into perfumes, watches or luggage. Not yet, at least.
The launch of Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Luxury Air will give travel agents four luxury products in the Crystal portfolio, up from the current one.
The Crystal name is adaptable to these products, each of which seems like a natural fit.
It might not be the case for other cruise lines or companies, where the names carry geographical implications, have a founder’s name embedded in them or seem to have nothing to do with the sea.
That hasn’t prevented Ford Motor Co. Mercedes-Benz or Apple from building very desirable brands. But they’ve succeeded more despite their names than because of them.
Crystal had the luxury of being started from scratch 25 years ago without a legacy of shipping or previous passenger service. Its Japanese owners gave managers the freedom to pick a good name.
Crystal connotes luxury, quality, a lightness and transparency, and evokes a material from which fine glassware and trophies are sculpted. To my mind, along with Carnival Cruise Line, it has always been one of the best cruise names because the name actually embodies the qualities ascribed to the product.
If Genting Hong Kong, the new owner or Crystal Cruises, stumbles, the strength of the brand could shatter. But if it doesn’t, it will have expanded the pie for the Crystal brand and travel agents alike.