Ship Spotlight: Makeovers


Extreme Makeover: Cruise Edition
Crystal Serenity takes on a chic new look.

By John and Sandra Nowlan

Extreme Makeover without the annoying host who screams through a bullhorn? Now that’s serenity. Crystal Serenity, in fact. Following a $25 million refurbishment in May, Crystal Cruises’ classic ship is sporting a sleek new look.

Crystal Serenity’s Captain Glenn Edvardsen is particularly proud of his ship’s recent refit. “Our goal with this ship and this line is to do everything a little bit better than anyone else,” the 20-year veteran Crystal commander told us as we sailed up the rugged coast of Norway toward the polar ice cap. “Thanks to great planning and working around the clock, we achieved everything we wanted in just 14 days.”
Crystal Serenity’s 2011 major makeover was a remarkable achievement, especially since every day a ship sits in dry dock without passengers is another day of zero revenue. But cruising is a highly competitive industry and ship owners know that guests don’t appreciate signs of wear and tear, outdated facilities, or anything less than the latest in design or technical innovations. While the 1,100-passenger Crystal Serenity is relatively young — it entered service in 2003 — the line still wanted to blend cutting-edge luxury with a class feel, or, what it calls, “Hollywood glamour and Fifth Avenue elegance.”

Although the round-the-clock work at Hamburg’s Blohm + Voss shipyard took just two weeks, the detailed planning lasted almost two years. Alexandra Don, Crystal’s vice president for hotel services and design, brought together some of the world’s top designers to create a new, contemporary look for the ship. Creative teams from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom brought special skills in the areas of modern stateroom design, the flow and style of public areas, and the stringent safety requirements of cruise ships.

The refit timetable had to be carefully researched and coordinated so the 400 workers in Hamburg responsible for the transformation would have precise travel and work schedules with all the material they needed close at hand when it was required. No idle minutes here. The fabric alone — 656,000 feet to be exact — for new curtains, upholstery, bed skirts, cushions, pillows, and carpeting had to be planned and measured in 2010 and ordered from an Italian company that custom-makes the material to the International Maritime Organization’s strict standards.

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