Vancouver Canucks charter the Crystal Skye

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#1
At 35,000 feet
9,325 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Well, it seems that the Skye isn't just sitting gathering dust. It just had a charter for the Vancouver Canucks, taking the team over to China for some pre-season games.

Players and team social media posted a number of photos, which were consolidated into one article on DailyHive.

I still don't think there is enough of a charter market for this aircraft, but at least they are getting some revenue.

Full article and photos can be found at THIS LINK.
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#2
Dubai, U.A.E.
2,307 Posts
Joined May 2005
I'm sure a plane load of sports 'stars' (sorry I have no idea which sport they represent) wandering around the aircraft in shorts, tee shirts, backwards baseball caps, and either barefoot or in sock feet wasn't quite what the previous CEO had in mind for this ultra-luxury aircraft, but I really don't see who else is likely to charter it...

Anne...
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#3
1,484 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Having been lucky enough to fly the apartment class on Etihad and suites on Emirates and Singapore all I can say is that the seats on Skye look very narrow and you have no privacy. Not for me so I think I will cancel the charter I had planned
#4
Florida
4,102 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
The Canucks have their own private jet but they chose the Crystal charter for the long trip to China. I love it! and I love the photos, too. It helps to be a sports fan, I guess. For those who only care very marginally, it's a hockey team.

One comment by one of them was "This plane is insane." They meant it in a good way, not the way the CCers here have mostly thought of it.

Thx, FlyerTalker.
#5
1,982 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by cruisr
Having been lucky enough to fly the apartment class on Etihad and suites on Emirates and Singapore all I can say is that the seats on Skye look very narrow and you have no privacy.
Another issue -- remarkable, I think, for an interior Crystal apparently designed for itself -- is that the window seats do not permit direct aisle access. Someone in the window seat has to climb over the person in the aisle seat. This is a real issue when the footrest is extended (as when the seat is extended into a bed, etc.)
#6
2,961 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Observer
Another issue -- remarkable, I think, for an interior Crystal apparently designed for itself -- is that the window seats do not permit direct aisle access. Someone in the window seat has to climb over the person in the aisle seat. This is a real issue when the footrest is extended (as when the seat is extended into a bed, etc.)
You have to keep in mind that the plane was ordered to Genting's specs primarily -- besides the AirCruises and whatever else Crystal would need it for... Right down to the lounge/dining tables that can be configured as gaming tables. Both the incentive and gambling charter markets are VERY couple-heavy, as to some degree the AirCruises would be as well. IMHO, that's the one segment where the 1/1/1/1 configs are more of a detriment than a perk.

Vince
#7
San Francisco
614 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Loved seeing this article. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. I think this is amazing publicity for Crystal and for Crystal Skye. Luxury charters are big business and most of us are not in that 'world' so are completely unaware of the intricacies of sourcing and setting up a private plane charter. Crystal Skye is at the top of the pile for those considering this sort of charter such as sports teams and music artists etc. I hear what everyone is saying about the exclusivity of the seating vs. Etihad Apartments but for a charter its a different market all together.
Personally I am happy this is making news this week. I agree with you Anne in that its most likely not the type of travel the outgoing CEO imagined but it is revenue coming in and that is a good thing in my book. It is clear the super expensive Air Cruises did not take off as well as they had imagined or hoped for. But in saying that, I do not wish for any sector of the Crystal brand to fail or falter. I want it all to be successful because then we all benefit especially those of us screaming for the new ocean builds. I have read many postings over the past few months about Crystal Air and I do not understand the negativity associated with Crystal Skye. Surely we want success at every level to ensure we get to cruise on new ships that make us happy? I also think Edie deserves a lot more from all of us on this forum. While some personally may not agree with her style of management you can not deny her the accolades that are well deserved. For a woman to take helm of a major luxury travel brand was astonishing and for her to 'save' the Crystal brand and oversee growth and expansion is amazing in my opinion.
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#8
At 35,000 feet
9,325 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by goldengatecruisers
I have read many postings over the past few months about Crystal Air and I do not understand the negativity associated with Crystal Skye.
Try to understand the diversion of significant capital, time and human resources away from Crystal's core business (ocean cruising) and into a travel concept that never saw the light of day (air cruises). My own feeling is that the 777 will have a negative ROI even after being repurposed.

For a woman to take helm of a major luxury travel brand was astonishing
Does this mean you think that women aren't able to do that? For if they are fully capable (as a gender), then it should not be astonishing.

and for her to 'save' the Crystal brand and oversee growth and expansion is amazing in my opinion.
"Growth and expansion" is easy....just throw a lot of money out and you have expanded. Now, if you are talking about profitable and successful "growth and expansion", I think the jury came back on Friday.
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"Anybody who believes they can out-think the airlines' revenue/yield management computer algorithms is, in my view, delusional." -- Gardyloo

"It doesn't really make a blind bit of difference what other people are paying since they're traveling from different airports, on different days, at different times of the year." -- fbgd

"Daddy he hates airplanes, Baby loves to fly. The Lady wants to know the reason why." -- Michael Franks

My standard response to all the questions of "Can I make that early flight home?" or "Can I take a bag that is oversized without paying?":
"Well, you gotta ask yourself....do you feel lucky? Well do you?" -- Inspector Harry Callahan
#9
1,982 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by goldengatecruisers
For a woman to take helm of a major luxury travel brand was astonishing ...
I am not certain it is *that* astonishing. Edie has made a good deal of this, as she has of other matters. However, I am fairly certain that Seabourn had a female president a decade or so ago. As I recall, she died in office. As of a few months ago, Celebrity's president was female. Celebrity may not be in the luxury category, but it's surely a larger cruise line than Crystal (and the presidency is doubtless a bigger job). These are simply people who leap to mind. And I am not even in the industry.
#10
1,484 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
Originally posted by Observer
I am not certain it is *that* astonishing. Edie has made a good deal of this, as she has of other matters. However, I am fairly certain that Seabourn had a female president a decade or so ago. As I recall, she died in office. As of a few months ago, Celebrity's president was female. Celebrity may not be in the luxury category, but it's surely a larger cruise line than Crystal (and the presidency is doubtless a bigger job). These are simply people who leap to mind. And I am not even in the industry.
Seabourn's first female President, as a stand alone entity, was Debbi Natansohn. She passed away, way too young, in 2006. She was replaced by Pamela Conover, who previously had been CEO of Cunard/Seabourn when they shared operations. Debi was In charge of Cunard and Rick Meadows was in charge of Seabourn at that time. So yes, there were female CEOs at cruise lines prior to Edie being at Crystal.
#11
2,961 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by FlyerTalker
Try to understand the diversion of significant capital, time and human resources away from Crystal's core business (ocean cruising) and into a travel concept that never saw the light of day (air cruises). My own feeling is that the 777 will have a negative ROI even after being repurposed.
In fairness on the air part though, the plane as an asset was ALWAYS going to be largely a charter plane. It literally used Genting's charter infrastructure, and was spec'd to Genting's needs. (You'll remember everyone asking, "but what's it going to spend most of the year doing, if it's only doing these handful of AirCruises?") I'm sure the AirCruises factored into how they were able to make a 777 work (or not work), but it's not like finding out it does better as a charter plane than flying AirCruises was like some out of the blue revelation.

Also, remember that although Edie was one advocating expansion as a means to get the critical mass Crystal needs to get a modern, core infrastructure and cover costs in this more efficient, consolidated environment of mega-competitors, it's Genting that bought Crystal for its brand opportunity. (They certainly didn't buy Crystal because they needed 2 more old ships.) If Crystal built 7 ocean ships, that still wouldn't accomplish a large mission that Genting needs Crystal for.

IMHO, I think in the next 5-8 years, we will see Crystal's name on another major service segment (+/- any that may be removed), and that -- like the Air -- will also have nothing to do with Edie.

Vince
#12
1,982 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by BWIVince
... it's Genting that bought Crystal for its brand opportunity.


Vince
I don't doubt that what you say is true. But if this was the case, why have they allowed the traditional core of the brand -- the ocean going ships that had tens of thousands of former guests and that had made Crystal's reputation -- to age as they have and to have deferred for so long the replacement of the cruise ships (2022?). If I wanted to exploit the brand opportunity I would think that I would work to expand/polish the core competency and work from there -- not to allow that core product with which the brand was identified to atrophy.
#13
At 35,000 feet
9,325 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by Observer
I don't doubt that what you say is true. But if this was the case, why have they allowed the traditional core of the brand -- the ocean going ships that had tens of thousands of former guests and that had made Crystal's reputation -- to age as they have and to have deferred for so long the replacement of the cruise ships (2022?). If I wanted to exploit the brand opportunity I would think that I would work to expand/polish the core competency and work from there -- not to allow that core product with which the brand was identified to atrophy.
And those two statements may explain why Edie (who was the architect of the first strategy) is out and why a new CEO may have been brought in to achieve the latter.
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"Government Certified Expert"

"Anybody who believes they can out-think the airlines' revenue/yield management computer algorithms is, in my view, delusional." -- Gardyloo

"It doesn't really make a blind bit of difference what other people are paying since they're traveling from different airports, on different days, at different times of the year." -- fbgd

"Daddy he hates airplanes, Baby loves to fly. The Lady wants to know the reason why." -- Michael Franks

My standard response to all the questions of "Can I make that early flight home?" or "Can I take a bag that is oversized without paying?":
"Well, you gotta ask yourself....do you feel lucky? Well do you?" -- Inspector Harry Callahan
#14
Ontario
567 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by Jayayeff
I'm sure a plane load of sports 'stars' (sorry I have no idea which sport they represent) wandering around the aircraft in shorts, tee shirts, backwards baseball caps, and either barefoot or in sock feet wasn't quite what the previous CEO had in mind for this ultra-luxury aircraft, but I really don't see who else is likely to charter it...

Anne...
I think the Canucks chartering this plane is great news and good marketing. I only hope that on my next Crystal cruise that my fellow MRD passengers dress as well as these guys getting off the plane.😉 Some of these sports stars making 8,9,10 million a year may raise the bar for dress.
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#15
London, UK
1,673 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Crystal Skye has the registration of P4-XTL. It is on the blue trim below the windows
https://www.crystalcruises.com/Stati...mg/whyus/2.jpg
Once you know this, it is easier to work out what the plane is up to

https://planefinder.net/data/aircraft/P4-XTL
Looks like it is keeping busy in China so far so not a lot of news in the Western Press or websites.
#16
Dubai, U.A.E.
2,307 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by JohnKen3
https://planefinder.net/data/aircraft/P4-XTL
Looks like it is keeping busy in China so far so not a lot of news in the Western Press or websites.
I believe this charter is for a tour to China for this sports team hence the reason it is busy over there just now...
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#17
2,961 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Observer
I don't doubt that what you say is true. But if this was the case, why have they allowed the traditional core of the brand -- the ocean going ships that had tens of thousands of former guests and that had made Crystal's reputation -- to age as they have and to have deferred for so long the replacement of the cruise ships (2022?). If I wanted to exploit the brand opportunity I would think that I would work to expand/polish the core competency and work from there -- not to allow that core product with which the brand was identified to atrophy.
Three, easy words. LOW HANGING FRUIT. Also, I guess, ORDER OF OPERATIONS probably comes a close second.

Now, I'm not endorsing this as a strategy, mind you, but I can at least explain the logic.

The first part of this has to do with Genting's own long term goals of brand strategy, and how Crystal fits into that picture.

Genting has two existing product segments that already push the limits of their existing brand, which are ripe for luxury branding, and both are focused largely on incentives and groups -- Air and Esprit. Both of these were going to happen no matter what company Genting purchased, or whom the CEO was, because these were existing organizational branding needs for Genting. I think the variable in there is Esprit, which is more of a springboard using an existing asset to launch and develop a next generation product -- a stopgap of sorts. This isn't uncommon in the industry -- the clearest other example I can think of at the moment was how Chandris used the Galileo to launch Celebrity.

Now if you're in expansion mode, and you have an existing aging product that needs redevelopment and you
need to expand to reach a critical mass both organizationally and operationally, you can accomplish both goals faster by bringing the fastest products to market first, and use those as part of your lab for reimagining the brand for the more complex aging product. The second problem is exposure -- the longer Crystal is present in only one segment, the longer Crystal risks volatility. Expanding into another segment first mitigates that risk that some outside factor can completely disrupt all of the company's revenue at once.

Sure, all of us are customers of the existing product and naturally want to see the ocean product tackled first, but planning, design and construction are ALL faster (by like a third) on river vessels than the ocean ships, so you can quickly pump that project through each of those phases and then pass those resources on to the next project. If you did it the other way around, and try to tackle the river ships after those resources are done on the ocean project, you run into gridlock at each phase.

Lastly, if you only have one or two aspects to reimagine, you can design and test those aspects easily and without much study. Crystal's product is _WAY_ beyond that point -- from almost every angle.

- Physically, the design of their ships are entire generations obsolete, as they are based on the general arrangement of a ship that entered service in 1984 -- even before Crystal was even envisioned by NYK.
- The entire stateroom schema is no longer used in this market segment at all any longer and needs redevelopment
- The entire MDR schema was obsolete and needed to be converted
- The alternative dining schema needs a lot of updating -- including needs for additional venues, additional capacity, and refreshing existing options
- Onboard amenities need updating -- features customers expect have changed, and Crystal needs to engineer new features for their brand standard that will wow their customers and set them apart, the way many of Harmony's did in 1990.

Changes that sweeping aren't something you think up in 6 months and then place an order for a new ship. These kinds of things are concepts you design, roll out as close as you can to your existing fleet, study, gather feedback, make changes, and then set a final product that you order on new ships, because you could live with that product for the next 20 years. It's a little more expensive to change those designs after the order is placed, but it's a lot more expensive to change those designs after construction begins -- or impossible -- as NYK found out with several of Harmony's design flaws.

Anyway, I've rambled enough, you get the idea... This isn't an issue of "protecting your core product first" -- I think we'd all agree that's an important concept. Unfortunately, it's not the only factor to consider.

Vince
#18
1,982 Posts
Joined May 2000
Vince,

You make interesting points and do so powerfully. I am thus persuaded that the Crystal/Edie strategy -- do everything else but work on the obsolete core ocean cruise product -- was perhaps not totally irrational. Nonetheless, I regret the decision and think it was a mistake. I know longtime Crystal customers who have given up on the product and are moving to contemporary luxury products such as Regent, Silversea, and Viking. I understand that you are not defending the decision -- simply explaining a possible rationale for it. Thanks for your thoughtful response.
Observer
#19
2,961 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Thanks. I'm glad you took the message as it was intended. This strategy penalized me personally because the only thing I care about will only see modest changes after years of waiting, and is years away from making true advances, so I know that disappointment.

Adding my personal opinion to the mix, I have a strong feeling that this plan actually might work out best for the ocean passengers in the long run in two ways, and while I think they were both factors in the decision, my hunch is they'll turn out to be more valuable in hindsight.

1) If they had jumped into the ocean ships first they would have major logjams with the two Dream newbuilds that were already in the pipeline. Forget the huge impact that would have had on the river ships, IMHO that would have caused a lot of problems for the ocean project over time.

2) I have a feeling the study and implementation of a lot of these ideas on either the earlier ships or on Symphony will help keep a lot of half-baked concepts from being cemented in on the new builds. Yes, that time lost will certainly cost customers, but in the end I think the improved product will save more than the slow implementation cost... And I say that on two fronts -- one, a lot of good ideas have come from the river ship and Esprit rollouts, but two, I think some of these ideas (like the residences) could use a second set of eyes from a different management team before they get the green light.

Completely IMHO... And again, that's not saying this didn't start out as a mistake either.

Vince