Based in Miami Silversea Cruises announced yesterday that it had won the bid for the famous passenger ship. Bidding recently took place as part of the liquidation of Crystal Cruises.
Released just a year ago, Crystal Endeavor — a small luxury vessel specially built for expeditionary cruises to remote areas of the planet. It was owned by Crystal until January, when the latter went on hiatus as its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, ran out of cash. Genting has filed for bankruptcy, which would see the firm liquidated entirely.
The future of the Endeavor has been the subject of much speculation in the cruise world in recent months, given its reputation as one of the finest luxury ships of its type.
The acquisition will allow the brand to quickly replace the 144-passenger Silver Explorer, an old polar expedition vessel. The Silver Explorer will leave the Silversea fleet.
The new owners paid $275 million for the liner. That's a significant amount for a used cruise ship with only 200 passengers, but experts say it's worth it. The declared cost of construction — $385 million, which is about $1.9 million per seat. Today's price is thus almost a 30% discount.
1.9 million per passenger — it's a lot. By comparison, Carnival Cruise Line's newest 5,280-passenger Mardi Gras was built for about $190,000 per bed — about 10 times smaller than the Endeavor.
Besides, the Crystal Endeavor has only been used for six months and remains practically new.
The first expedition with passengers will be for him a trip to Antarctica in a week Thanksgiving. It's only four months away.
After that, the ship will switch to the winter schedule of voyages to Antarctica, already scheduled under the Silver Explorer. Recall that the Silver Endeavor (the English name of the liner) will be able to accommodate approximately 46% more passengers than the Silver Explorer.
The Crystal Endeavor was built as a luxury ship and, while under Crystal's brief possession, was operated with “full mincemeat”; luxury amenities, including butler service for every passenger. There are five upscale restaurants here (and that's for 200 passengers). Among them is an upscale Japanese restaurant — the only one of its kind on the expedition ship.
Crystal Endeavor also features a stylish glass-enclosed solarium with pool and jacuzzi, spa, cigar bar and even a small casino — also one of a kind. It is designed to work with a one-to-one staff-to-passenger ratio — a rarity for cruise ships.
Interestingly, Silversea does not operate a casino on its expedition ships, and may eventually turn the casino area into more cabins.
Crystal Endeavor — one of the few cruise ships built with a helipad and helicopter hangars. However, it was never operated with helicopters, because Crystal ran out of money to buy equipment.
On the ship today, only a few things need to be changed: install new branded signs, a new external livery and make some changes in restaurants, to align them with the Silversea brand's signature restaurants.
Crystal Endeavor — not the first Crystal ship sold under the hammer. In June, the travel company A&K Travel Group announced that it had bought the two largest ocean liners Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, planning to relaunch the brand in 2023
On the fate of another major division of Crystal — river cruise, which includes five ships, brand liquidators have not yet announced.