Celestyal Crystal CEO Looks at Third Ship

(10:30 am EDT) -- Celestyal Cruises is looking at the possibility of adding a third ship to its fleet within the next three years.

Speaking exclusively to Cruise Critic onboard Celestyal Crystal, the line's new CEO Chris Theophilides said: "We have a very good idea of what size our third ship should be… in terms of what structure she should be for inventories and balconies.

"Stage one is 2019, which is extending the season and continuing to build our distribution network. The second part is a new ship.

"We have something very specific in mind in terms of getting into the smaller ports as well as the marquee destinations. The third ship we have in mind would be smaller than Celestyal Olympia but larger than Crystal."

"It's something we're working on, and we are looking at specific opportunities let's say, but it's not 2019."

He added: "We see the room to grow and it's not by chance that we have three different 7-day itineraries."

Last year, Celestyal operated a three-ship fleet -- Celestyal Olympia, Crystal and Nefeli. However, Nefeli was on charter and has since left the fleet. Then at the start of this year. Thomson Majesty -- which was on charter to Marella Cruises -- returned to the Celestyal fleet, but just until the end of April.

The line currently operates just the two ships, Olympia and Crystal, offering 4- and 7-day itineraries around the Greek islands. The line pulled out of Cuba after four years last year.

Next year, the line will start Crystal's season in January, launching a new itinerary -- Three Continents -- calling in at Ashdod (Israel), Port Said (Egypt), Cyprus and returning to Istanbul for the first time in three years.

Theophilides added that the number of UK passengers had increased from virtually nothing to 3,000 this year -- and was continuing to grow for 2019. The increase is down to a combination of visibility through being featured on "Cruising with Jane McDonald", securing trade distribution in the UK and appointing a dedicated UK MD, Andrew Magowan.

--by Adam Coulter, Managing Editor, UK