Behind the Scenes: Crystal Cruises
As top luxe line Crystal Cruises fêtes its 20th anniversary, I decided to check in with cruise director Scott Peterson, a 23-year industry veteran. Below, he reflects on what’s in store for the upcoming season.
Q: What is Crystal doing to celebrate its 20th anniversary?
A: Crystal’s 20th year anniversary is going to be a yearlong celebration. There are going to be special Captain’s parties and champagne breakfasts for guests, plus on the two cruises sailing on July 20, the actual day of Crystal’s anniversary, the first ever Crystal menu will be served at a gala dinner, along with wine selections sold at the original prices. Each ship will also host a games night featuring a Crystal trivia contest. The winning team will be treated to an evening at the Vintage Room for a multi-course meal with wine pairings. All the wine will be from 1990—which happened to be a very good year.
Q: Crystal had a history of forging partnerships with companies like Berlitz and Yamaha to offer enrichment programs to guests. What are some of the most recent?
A: Last June, we partnered with the Music Center in Los Angeles to showcase emerging singers, instrumentalists and dancers on select cruises. Just to give you an example of the caliber of the artists: Adam Lambert was a runner up in the Center’s annual Spotlight Awards. Some of these youngsters may lack some of the polish of pro Broadway performers but the program helps them grow, or as we say, it lets tomorrow’s stars shine today.
Crystal’s also bringing aboard the Travel Channel Academy to teach passengers how to make their own travel videos. It used to be that mom and dad would tote around bulky cameras to document family trips. Now with digital, there’s a real opportunity to take and edit some phenomenal footage that’s much more interesting than your neighbors’ slideshows that would go on and on and make your eyes roll into the back of your head. Boring!
Q: What’s a typical day for you?
A: As a cruise director, I plan all the onboard entertainment and enrichment programs. I’m also the de facto spokesperson thanks to the half hour informational show we air for guests on close-circuit TV. Typically, I’ll get up at 6:30 to check on emails, surf the Internet and read the newspapers—which could useful material for the show. Then I’m off to meetings with the hotel director and ship staff, followed by onboard lectures that I’ll introduce. In between lunch and evening events, I’ll tape behind-the-scene segments for the TV show, like an interview with a celebrity guest or sommelier and think about the “cruise layout” for future sailings. I interact with guests all day, every day whether I’m at cocktail parties or working out at the gym.
Lisa Cheng is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.