The adventure continues! As I’ve done so many times in the past several months, I am reaching out to you all today with an announcement in regard to our growing Crystal fleet. Today’s announcement is a bit different, with a decidedly patriotic element to it, as we have signed an agreement to officially acquire stewardship of the SS United States, with the ultimate intention to return her to her previous splendor.
To offer some background on this storied vessel, the SS United States was once known as “America’s Flag Ship,” the epitome of luxury cruise travel and American post-war innovation and design in the 1950’s. She was originally built to capture the trans-Atlantic speed record – a record she still holds, along with her status as the largest passenger ship ever designed and built in America. In the utmost style of the day, she carried U.S. presidents, international nobility and stars of Hollywood’s “Golden Era” before her retirement in 1969.
When I was made aware that the ship was headed toward recycling due to the extent of disrepair and continued costs to maintain her status in her Philadelphia port, I knew that we could not let that happen. The SS United States boasts a past that is significant to both, American history and luxury travel itself. We are fortunate that our parent company felt the same way, and is supporting us in this venture with the same commitment they have displayed throughout our recent expansion.
It is only fitting that the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line be entrusted with the mission to restore this symbol of an elegant, bygone era of travel. Additionally, as our guests are discerning and savvy travelers, I feel that the return of this sophisticated era – combined with the modern luxuries that Crystal has perfected – will offer a truly unique experience at sea.
Through an agreement with the SS United States Conservancy, we will take over the maintenance of this historic ship as we begin the investigative process for the next steps toward restoring her bright future. Our aspirations of returning her to the seas carrying America’s flag as she calls in quintessential ports like New York City will have to wait while we ensure that she is brought up to 21st century safety and environmental standards.
Following this intensive process will be the very important venture to bring her up to Crystal standards, which will include our unyielding caliber of luxury amenities, service and guest experience on board. While certain onboard features will be hallmarks to the “Crystal Experience,” many of the ship’s spaces will remain true to her origin and era, including the Navajo Lounge (similar to the Avenue Saloon) and the Promenade. The ship will also boast spacious suites for 800 guests, retaining Crystal’s enviably high crew-to-guest and space ratio.
As we embark on this new journey with the SS United States, we are honored to be charged with the opportunity to bring her back to oceangoing service in the most efficient and responsible way possible. The many months ahead will see technical and regulatory studies to ensure this very significant task can move forward as planned, but I am confident that this once glorious vessel will be so again.
Please join me in welcoming the SS United States to the Crystal fleet, and eventually…back to sea.