The 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor, debuting in August 2020, promises to combine intrepid itineraries – to eastern Russia’s rugged Kamchatka Peninsula and the exotic Spice Islands of the Banda Archipelago in Indonesia, for example – with the many diversions and amenities of larger ships.
“In exploration cruising before, you had to decide between a luxury vessel or an epic shore experience,” says Paul Largay, a Virtuoso travel advisor based in Waterbury, Connecticut, who has traveled on every ship in the Crystal fleet since 1990. “Crystal has been able to elevate the standards of accommodations, food – the entire onboard experience – and still not surrender intimate shore experiences. It’s the best of both worlds, and you no longer have to decide between luxury and adventure.”
The polar-rated expedition yacht is built both to handle the Antarctic ice and to ensure guests are well insulated from it. Each cabin comes with butler service and features king beds, walk-in closets, spa-inspired bathrooms with heated floors and rainfall showerheads, and heated storage designed to dry damp parkas between excursions.
The Endeavor’s public spaces will offer amenities that defy its boutique size, starting with a casino and six restaurants, including an elegant northern Italian spot; a European bistro; and Umi Uma & Sushi Bar, a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant from celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The stern’s glass-enclosed, two-story solarium offers unobstructed views from the swimming pool, hot tub, and deck chairs in all climates. The full-service spa and salon encompass a fitness center and sauna with ample windows so passengers won’t miss any passing thing. Two helicopters parked atop the ship and one personal submersible tethered near the water-level marina enable passengers to explore both above and below the sea.
“The Endeavor will offer alternative destinations full of wonder and adventure and is bound to appeal to those who are seeking new places and cultures to experience in an entirely different way,” says Patty Calvert, a Memphis-based Virtuoso advisor.
In its inaugural season, the ship will make its way from coastal Japan to deserted beaches in the Philippines, the jungles of Borneo (home to orangutans), the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the fjords of New Zealand, and eventually nightless Antarctica, where it will spend summer in the Southern Hemisphere as the first PC6 polar-class luxury expedition yacht. Sailing between Hobart, Australia, and Christchurch, New Zealand, these itineraries near the South Pole venture ashore on the continent, with the heli-assisted possibility of traveling deeply inland.
Crystal Endeavor sailings will range from 12 to 22 days and start at $12,749 per person; departures begin August 2020.