Crystal president Bornstein settles in with Symphony visit

By Johanna Jainchill

Edie Bornstein meets Crystal staff aboard the Symphony.NEW YORK — Edie Bornstein last week made her first appearance on a Crystal Cruises ship since being named president of the luxury line this month.

The former Azamara Club Cruises sales and marketing executive boarded the Crystal Symphony at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, where the newly refurbished vessel faced the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan on a cloudless fall day.

The Symphony's crew was buzzing about Bornstein's arrival, eager to meet their new boss and the first new president of the line since Gregg Michel took the reins in 2001.

"I'm excited that it's a woman," said a barista.

Smiling waiters formed a greeting line in the Symphony's main dining room when she entered to host a lunch with the press. Bornstein greeted each member of the restaurant staff individually, thanking them for their service to the company.

She also met that day with the ship's captain and senior officers, and she chatted up anyone else she encountered. A housekeeper told Bornstein she had been with Crystal for almost a decade and had married another crewmember she met onboard.

Bornstein also greeted some passengers, one who had been on 15 Crystal cruises.

The visit marked her second time on a Crystal ship; Bornstein sailed on the Symphony earlier this year as a passenger.

Bornstein replaced Michel on Oct. 16 in a corporate shakeup that also included the promotion of Jack Anderson to vice chairman and Thomas Mazloum, vice president of operations since 2010, to executive vice president, reporting directly to Bornstein.

Anderson, who joined Crystal in 2011 as senior vice president of marketing and sales, will now report to Crystal Chairman and CEO Nobuyoshi Kuzuya.

Bornstein talked about her 30-year career in the travel industry, which began at Liberty Travel. From there she went to Amadeus, before starting a cruise industry career that would land her in positions at Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines before taking the top sales job at Azamara, a position she held for the past four years. (Read more from Bornstein in this week's "In the Hot Seat" column.)  

Bornstein also said that as a 52-year-old woman who makes the travel-buying decisions in her family, "I'm the perfect Crystal passenger."

Not wanting to tip off the competition, Bornstein was reticent about what changes might be in store at Crystal under her leadership. She stressed that the line was already superb.

"We are not talking about good to great," she said. "We're talking extraordinary to super-extraordinary. … I am looking for little opportunities."

One idea she mentioned was luxury partnerships.

"A lot of the world's luxury brands would welcome the association with Crystal Cruises," she said.

Bornstein also praised Crystal's lead-generation program for travel agents, calling it the best in the industry.

"It's a great way to support the people supporting you," she said.

Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw. 

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