By Mimi Kmet
As vice president of land programs, John Stoll is the mastermind behind Crystal Adventures shore excursions, traveling the world in search of memorable experiences for Crystal’s luxury cruise guests. With the 62–guest Crystal Esprit luxury yacht launching later this year, he has been combing the Seychelles Islands, Israel, the Mediterranean Sea, the Adriatic Coast, and the Arabian Sea for new experiences — like zip lining in the Seychelles, culinary tours in Greece, and acrobatic flights aboard a stunt plane in Croatia — that will enhance the unique and luxuriously intrepid nature of that vessel. During a recent interview, he shared his vision for Crystal Yacht Cruises and his passion for his job.
This is my career. It’s my life. It’s my passion. In this industry, we’re very lucky. We’re providing vacations for people and memories that they will carry with them for a lifetime for themselves and their families; and I am in a position that affords me the opportunity to help make dreams come true. It is a thrill for me to find once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will showcase the destination and create a lifetime of memories for guests.
The development of Crystal Yacht Cruises has been particularly exciting for me. The Crystal Esprit is being designed with the Crystal guest in mind, but it’s taking it to a new level. The Crystal Adventures we are creating for this project are high-end, purpose-driven, customized tours. Our larger ships offer “Crystal Boutique Adventures” (a collection of excursions exclusive only to Crystal), but these are all boutique adventures. These are all crème de la crème, top-line experiences that can only be had on a Crystal Yacht cruise. The program caters to a yacht clientele who knows and understands luxury and is seeking personalized excursions tailor-made for their tastes.
So, creating Crystal Adventures for Crystal Yacht Cruises has been a great challenge for me. I am very proud to have been a part of the cruise industry for over 30 years; and to continue to discover something so unique and different can be very challenging at times. We search for the “wow” factor in every shore side experience. Looking at these destinations from a different perspective with a more leisurely approach to yacht cruising was incredible! After very intensive site inspections of each destination, we quickly became very excited at all of the unique possibilities a yacht allows.
For example, in the Seychelles, with the nimbleness of the yacht, we will be able move multiple times at the ideal time of day to take advantage of the best possible conditions, whether it be the crystal clear water or the perfect time to catch the sun rising or setting. In the morning, we may go to Aride, Cousin or Cuirise Island for a nature walk or a rugged hike, bird watching, or mingling with the tortoises; then, we can leisurely move off and drop anchor in a beautiful and peaceful cove that’s perfect for snorkeling and marina sports.
Crystal Esprit will also have water skis, wake boards, jet skis, and fishing, SCUBA, and snorkel gear, which will allow us to make the yacht part of the destination. We are also working on Crystal Overland Adventures and “You Care. We Care.” voluntourism excursions, which have been a success story with our ocean vessels. They will be limited because of the shorter itineraries, but we will attempt to offer them whenever and wherever possible. One of the things we’re most excited about for the launch of Crystal Esprit is the three- and four-night pre- and post-cruise programs at the luxurious Taj Hotel in Dubai. It is a 5-star hotel that perfectly situates guests in the heart of a very special New Year’s Eve extravaganza. We’ve arranged a private room exclusively for Crystal guests offering premium viewing of the fireworks display centered on the Burj Khalifa. Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Dubai before or after a cruise in the Seychelles on Crystal’s new Yacht? How great is that?
Crystal Yacht Cruises itineraries and Crystal Adventures are now available online.