Crystal Cruises Announces Return of Cruise Directors

Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises announces its cruise directors will make a return across its three-ship fleet.

Crystal Cruises announces the much-anticipated return of its cruise directors across its fleet of three luxury cruise ships. They will lead the entertainment and experience onboard for guests when the line begins sailings once again this summer.

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Raised from the depths of bankruptcy via acquisition by the elite travel company Abercrombie & Kent, Crystal previously announced that its two ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, would be refurbished for adventures once again, including plans to take guests around the world.

“Serving as Cruise Director is one of the most important roles onboard, and we are so excited to have this group rejoin our team,” said Vice President of Entertainment for Crystal, Keith Cox. “They each bring their own unique style which guests have come to know and love when sailing with Crystal.”

But no cruise, no matter the itinerary, ever reaches its full potential without a great cruise director. On Monday, April 24, 2023, Crystal’s Cruise Directors were finally announced. Here they are:

Rick Spath: Cruise Director, Crystal Serenity

Rick Spath is a husband and father of four based in Charlotte, North Carolina. First becoming a Cruise Director in 1984, he has logged more than 40 years at sea, 18 of which have been with Crystal.

After sailing around the world multiple times–the 2024 World Cruise will be his 17th global voyage–the New Jersey native admits that his favorite spot is the South Pacific.

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Returning to service on July 31, the 820-foot 68,870-ton Crystal Serenity will have room for 740 passengers and a nearly 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio.

“Extensive refurbishments” are expected to deliver an “industry leading” space to guest ratio that’s capped by larger elegant suites. Guests will also find an array of exceptional social areas onboard, including a “cutting-edge” wellness center, a revamped gym and spa, and a new pickleball court.

Russ Grieve: Cruise Director, Crystal Symphony

First joining Crystal in 2018, Russ Grieve returns to lead the inaugural voyage of the Crystal Symphony. Before Crystal, he served for several years as the Cruise Director on the Azamara Quest, and before becoming a cruise director, he was involved in musical theater. Several years dedicated to singing and acting included a role in MAMMA MIA!, which lasted seven and a half years.

Crystal Symphony in New York
Photo Courtesy: Crystal Cruises

Embarking on her inaugural sailing on September 1, the Crystal Symphony is expected to offer a slightly more intimate experience compared to its sister.

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Along with offering expansive suites and a similar guest-to-crew ratio, the Symphony is smaller, boasting a 781-foot hull and weighing in at 51,044 tons, as well as only holding 606 passengers. However, its standards of exceptional comfort, dining, and entertainment will be equal to the Serenity.

Raphael Derkson: Cruise Director, Crystal Serenity

Raphael Derkson will board Serenity as its first Musical Director. A product of the Montreal Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music in Boston, and the Herbert Bergof Acting Studio in New York, Derkson joined the Crystal family in 1999 as a Musical Director, seeing the opportunity to provide cruise ship entertainment “a natural fit.”

He has since been promoted to Crystal Cruise Director and will eventually assume the role from Spath, but that date has not been released.

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