Rendering of Crystal Endeavor

(5:50 p.m. EST) -- Construction work on Crystal's luxury expedition yacht, Crystal Endeavor, officially began yesterday as the first piece of steel was cut at the MV Werften Shipyard in Stralsund, Germany.

Company and shipyard executives, along with local officials, came out for the ship's steel-cutting ceremony. In attendance were Tom Wolber, Crystal president and CEO; Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman and CEO of Crystal's parent company, Genting Hong Kong (GHK); Colin Au, group president of GHK; Jarmo Laakso, CEO of MV Werften Shipyard; Harry Glawe, Economics Minister of the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania; and Dr. Alexander Badrow, Lord Mayor of Stralsund.

"Today is a special day in the development of Crystal Endeavor, which will introduce the next level of exploration for the Crystal brand," Wolber said, according to a company statement. Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay noted that Crystal has invested over 20 million euros (roughly $24.5 million) to provide the Stralsund shipyard with new equipment to increase the efficiency of its shipbuilding.

The 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor is scheduled to launch in 2020, and will be in the first ship in the line's Polar Class. It will combine Crystal's noted luxury touches -- spacious suites, multiple fine dining options, a spa and wellness center -- as well as state-of-the-art technology and toys to enhance the passenger experience in adventurous locations.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor