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Crystal Cruises says internet continues to get faster

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ABOARD THE CRYSTAL SERENITY -- Crystal Cruises is prepared to double its internet bandwidth again in 2019, as it has been doing every year since 2017, said vice president of information technology John Polimenakos.

In a presentation during Crystal's annual gala for travel agents, Polimenakos said WiFi speeds doubled in 2018 from 2017 and are now four times faster than at the start of that year. "Bandwidth is going to double again to eight times the 2017 level," he said.

Since 2017 Crystal has included internet in the fare rather than charge separately, which has contributed to increasing utilization.

"There's a lot of congestion," Polimenakos said. "YouTube and Facebook are only getting bigger, and that means we have to adjust the pipeline," he said. 

On another front, Crystal president and CEO Tom Wolber said the company's long-delayed trio of new ocean ships "have grown a little bit" and the staterooms also have grown a little bit. But Wolber told the group he wasn't yet prepared to go into details. 

"I won't share anything until I have them perfected, but believe me they will be the talk of the industry," Wolber said.

Last year, Wolber said the Diamond class vessels would be in the range of 60,000 to 65,000 gross tons.

Wolber said the company is looking forward to the delivery of its first 200-passenger expedition ship, the Crystal Endeavor, in August 2020. He said that David Sinclair has been named expedition leader.

"David has climbed the highest peaks north of the Arctic Circle, skied across Greenland and become an avid naturalist and nature photographer during his career," Wolber said. Sinclair is a master at identifying experiences that are on travelers' bucket lists "and making unforgettable moments possible for travelers," he said.

Overall, Crystal is maintaining its focus on stabilization and on being a pleasure to do business with, Wolber said. "We are getting to where we need to be; we are getting back to what we were," he said.

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