Tourism & Cruises

Luxury line Crystal Cruises opening Miami office in 2017

Crystal Cruises’ two ships: Crystal Symphony, launched in 1995, and Crystal Serenity, which debuted in 2003.
Crystal Cruises’ two ships: Crystal Symphony, launched in 1995, and Crystal Serenity, which debuted in 2003. Crystal Cruises

On the heels of a year of massive expansion, California-based luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises is establishing its presence in the world’s cruise capital with the opening of a Miami office in early 2017.

The line will keep its headquarters office in Los Angeles but will also take over a 40,000-square-foot space at the historic Shrine building in downtown Miami at 1401 Biscayne Blvd.

“We are growing so much and there is such a pool of cruise talent in the cruise capital of the world. And that’s why we chose Miami as a branch office,” said Edie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Crystal.

Crystal Cruises has added a megayacht to its two-ship fleet, with plans for river cruising, three more oceangoing ships and a buisiness-class-only airplane.

In the year since gambling giant Genting Hong Kong purchased Crystal for $550 million, the cruise line has announced a three-year plan to add a river-cruising operation, three additional ocean-going ships and business-class-only air service. Last year, the line added a 62-passenger megayacht, Crystal Esprit, to its fleet for sailings in the Seychelles Islands.

The company has routinely won awards as a top luxury line even though is has had only two ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, which sail from PortMiami seasonally in winter.

To service its presence in river cruising, the luxury line also announced the opening of an office in Amsterdam next month.

In Miami, Rodriguez said the company has been operating out a temporary space with 50 employees since last year, but it has outgrown those quarters.

We are growing so much and there is such a pool of cruise talent in the cruise capital of the world and that’s why we chose Miami as a branch office.

Edie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Crystal

Crystal’s parent company, Genting Hong Kong, part of Genting Group, is also the owner of Crystal’s new site. There, the line will share space with Genting’s other Miami-based operation, Resorts World Bimini, a resort and casino in the Bahamas. Genting also owns Bimini SuperFast, a ferry sailing from PortMiami to Bimini.

In 2011, Genting Group bought the downtown Miami site where the Miami Herald was then headquartered and quickly acquired other nearby property, including the former Omni Mall. Originally the Asian gambling giant planned to build a large resort and casino at the site of the former Miami Herald building, but the company has remained largely mum about its plans as it has pursued legislative approval for gambling on the site that has not yet been secured.

Locally, Genting owns 11.1 percent of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. The company also owns major Asian cruise line Star Cruises and operates a casino in the New York City borough of Queens, an 87-acre site on the Las Vegas Strip and resorts in Asia. It is a partner in Universal Studios in Singapore.

Crystal plans to continue cruises from PortMiami but doesn’t expect to add more itineraries to its Miami route at this time, Rodriguez said.

This story has been updated from its previous version.

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