An Exclusive With The Powerhouse Behind The Crystal Luxury Empire
March 15, 2017
Staff Reporter: Jeannette Ceja, Luxuria Lifestyle Florida
While traveling in India, Luxuria Lifestyle Florida got an exclusive interview with one of the busiest executives in the Luxury Hospitality and Cruise Industry.
As CEO, President and Chairman Edie Rodriguez oversees the growing Crystal brand, which includes a luxurious assortment of travel brands, among them Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal AirCruises and Crystal Residences.
She comes with an impressive resume of more than 36 years of experience in the travel industry. And to top it all, she has visited almost 100 countries to date.
Today, Edie Rodriguez remains the only female CEO, President and Chairman in the Luxury Cruise and Hospitality Industry. To that end, however, she has expressed her discontent over being frequently asked the gender question and routinely advocates that gender should not matter. She believes that any professional position should be filled simply by the best person for the job. Accordingly, the former owner and chairman and the current chairman hired Rodriguez because she was the most qualified person for the position.
“It saddens me that it is still harder for women. I always say it’s still a man’s world. Make no mistake,” says Rodriguez. “And I say that as a female Chairman, CEO and President, but that’s okay. It just means we will work harder, smarter and achieve whatever goals we set for ourselves as women.”
Luxuria Lifestyle Florida wanted to know more about this fascinating trailblazer. Asked to describe in herself in her own words, exactly who is Edie Rodriguez?
“I always answer in the following order. First and foremost, always I am a mother. My son is 27 years old. It’s always great to see a millennial perspective on life. I am mom, a wife and I am an executive,” says Rodriguez. “But overall, I am definitely a woman who is passionate with every aspect of my life. Without passion, I feel like I would be nothing. So the minute I am not passionate about something, I will move on and do something else.”
Her passion for travel began at just six years old. That’s when an aunt brought her a porcelain doll back from Japan. “I would say really and truly, that’s when I established that goal of wanting to see the world,” says Rodriguez. “My goal from that age was when I grow up, I want to see every country in the world.”
After graduating and earning a prestigious degree, Rodriguez asked herself how she was going to see the world. She chose to save money and go on trips. Specifically, her career in Travel began as a Travel Consultant. “I am a classic example of someone who has worked my way up and the rest is history, as they say. It’s been a great life,” says Rodriguez. “I am as passionate today, if not more, as when I started this great career 36 years ago.”
Rodriguez shares the same advice with the public that she was given as a young child: To find your passion, get a great education and then follow it. Additionally, she mentioned for dreamers to also put blinders on, as sadly there are a lot of naysayers and haters out there.
“And if it is your dream, follow it and do not allow negativity to ever interfere with you fulfilling your own dream,” says Rodriguez. “And that’s the best advice I could give anybody.”
Rodriguez shares her dream of travel with a hunger for education to grow and learn. Additionally, she points out that travel can teach people about life, different cultures and humanity. When asked what her favorite destination has been so far, she jokes that’s like asking the mother of ten children that you love them all just differently. “And if push came to shove and I had to answer- clearly Italy,” says Rodriguez. “But I do love everywhere I go.”
Ask Rodriguez what’s the definition of luxury and it’s clear that time is a top contender. “I always say luxury is a term like beauty- it’s in the eye of the beholder and it means different things for different people,” says Rodriguez. “But for me, because my life is hectic. Literally for me, luxury is basically time.”
Lastly, when asked why the public should choose Crystal for future travel, Rodriguez says, “In my humble opinion, I say this as a Global Luxury Traveler. Crystal is simply the best. Crystal has something for whatever you are looking to achieve in creating your memories of a lifetime on your vacation experience.” Regardless of one’s travel budget, there are travel consultants that can help in the booking of all things Crystal.
“So, depending on what you are looking to do as the world’s most luxurious lifestyle and hospitality brand portfolio- we can match your individual needs and goals with an incredible vacation that will deliver memories of a lifetime,” says Rodriguez. “But at the end of the day, it boils down to service.” And on Crystal, she confirms the service is like no other. It’s better than anything she has personally ever experienced on land, in the air, or at sea.
“And at Crystal we say, we hire for the personality and train for the skill. And all the credit goes to our wonderful team and crew,” says Rodriguez. “They are exceptional, bar none on anything in the sky, on land or on the sea. The service.”
Several exciting new developments include new itineraries for Crystal Cruises, the future launch of Crystal AirCruises Boeing 777 and the Bombardier Global Express XRS. Rodriguez shares her vision for the Crystal brand in the next five years.
“I see us just continuing to grow, continuing to deliver great experiences that create unparalleled experiences of a lifetime,” says Rodriguez. “And just continued success. We have had three awesome years and I would like that momentum to continue indefinitely even beyond five years.”