Cruise line history: Crystal Cruises and NYK LINES. Parent company of Crystal Cruises history in the 1920s and 1930s.
Crystal Cruises carries on a great tradition…
Japan had one of the great passenger liner fleets. NYK carries on with a wonderful first class cruise line fleet since they created Crystal Cruises.
Ad from Travel Magazine in the late 1930s.
CRUISE HISTORY – SAILING ACROSS THE PACIFIC – ABOARD THE NYK LINES AND OSK LINES
Jazz Age Destination – 1920s – YouTube video – great films of the fabulous Orient before WW2.
Crystal Cruises Brings You Symphony and Serenity
When parent company NYK entered the luxury cruise business in 1988, the ‘Crystal Difference’ was but a distant concept. Today, Crystal Cruises celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2010, the line ranks at the top in the industry. For 15 consecutive years and 17 years, respectively, discriminating readers of such prestigious publications as Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler have accorded Crystal Cruises the industry’s most coveted ranking: World’s Best Large-Ship Cruise Line. The company’s first ship, Crystal Harmony, entered service in 1990, and in November of 2005 left the fleet to join Crystal Cruises’ parent company Japan’s NYK’s cruise division. Crystal Symphony, Crystal Harmony’s sister ship, was launched in 1995. A third ship, Crystal Serenity, was introduced in July 2003.
How did this relative newcomer propel itself to the top of an established and competitive industry? What sets its fleet well above the rest? Its absolute commitment to the company’s simple but all-encompassing goal: To provide its guests with the finest travel experience available in the luxury service business, not just the luxury cruise industry. The success of the ‘Crystal Difference’ is best illustrated by the company’s number of repeat guests. It is one of the highest in the industry.
This commitment is apparent in every aspect of the Crystal experience, where attention to detail and an availability of choices are unsurpassed in the world of travel. It is reflected in a feeling of spaciousness and the highest quality furnishings, including Riedel leaded crystal wine glasses, Royal Doulton bone china tea service, Frette or Garnier Thiebaut table linens, and Brown Jordan Mission teak deck furniture. Most importantly, it is reflected in the utmost care, attention, and warm hospitality.
The company’s modern standard of luxury is often compared to the world’s finest land-based hotels such as Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton. First and foremost, however, luxury Crystal-style is neither stuffy nor intimidating. It represents the very best personal experience a cruise can deliver, from experienced captains, officers, and staff to crew and shoreside personnel who genuinely look forward to welcoming guests into the Crystal family.
Through its uncompromising focus on classic service, abundant space, extensive choices and quality, Crystal Cruises has redefined the luxury vacation. As a result, it has become the benchmark against which guests and travel agents now measure all other cruise lines. (For detailed comparisons, see the ship profiles with specifications, venues, and detailed amenities.)
Los Angeles-based Crystal Cruises is headed by President Edie Bornstein who was appointed president in October 2013. Senior management, with decades of combined experience in the luxury travel market, includes Chairman Nobuyoshi Kuzuya; Vice Chairman, Jack Anderson; and Executive Vice President, Thomas Mazloum.
Crystal Cruises is owned by Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), one of the largest and most successful shipping companies in the world. Headquartered in Tokyo, the firm operates over 800 ships and has offices around the globe.
M/S Asama Maru (1929) and M/S Tatsutu Maru (1930) – NYK Line
One of Japan’s proudest periods in passenger shipping was the 1929 building of two of the finest and most luxurious ships ever to sail the Pacific Ocean – the Asama Maru and Tatsuta Maru. They were routed on NYK Line’s premier express service, regularly sailing from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kobe and Yokohama to Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Their passenger areas were of the highest quality, much of it in traditional European style. There were polished woods, stained glass skylights, fine dining rooms, lounges, library, gift shop, hair salon, comfortable cabins and a swimming pool on deck. This was luxury cruising at its finest. Notable passengers who sailed on these fine ships included Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin.
The Asama Maru was the first to enter service in 1929 and she soon set the record for the fastest crossing of the Pacific on the Yokohama to San Francisco route. Her sister, the Tatsutu Maru entered service in 1930. In 1936 the Tatsutu Maru become the first merchant ship to pass under the new Bay Bridge linking San Francisco and Oakland. In 1937 the Asama Maru suffered a mishap when she was driven aground in Kowloon Bay during the Great Hong Kong Typhoon. After the outbreak of the Second World War both ships were requisitioned as troopships but unfortunately both were sunk and did not survive the war and it was left to the Hikawa Maru to re-establish the trans-pacific service.
The OSK AND NYK LINES were the equivalent of Japan’s Cunard and US Lines before WWII. The Japanese trans-pacific service was booming during the interwar years following the First World War. NYK and OSK were ordering new and more luxurious ships for the prestigious trans-pacific service. Seen below are elegant postcards from Japan’s two major shipping companies – during the heyday of their passengers service between WWI and WWII.
OSK AND NYK LINE POSTCARDS – PROMOTING THEIR LINERS
NYK LINE HISTORY