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Karl Muhlberger Named Crystal's COO

Karl Muhlberger

Karl Muhlberger has been named Chief Operating Officer at Crystal Cruises.

As COO, Muhlberger will report directly to president and CEO, Tom Wolber, and will be based in Crystal’s Miami headquarters.

Muhlberger will oversee facets of Crystal’s expanding fleet including hotel services, entertainment, food and beverage operations, concessions, technical services, reservations and guest relations for the lines’ existing experiences and those in development, according to a press release.

“I am delighted to welcome Karl to the Crystal Family at a particularly exciting time for our company, as his esteemed career in luxury travel and expertise in launching new ships and programs for global travelers will be great assets to our teams ashore and on board as we navigate new waters,” Wolber said. “His beginnings in the culinary industry helped create a spirit of welcoming hospitality, which is integral to our guests’ experience, while his experience spearheading company and fleet expansions brings important perspective to Crystal’s position in the market.”

A native of Austria, Muhlberger began his career at age 15 as a culinary apprentice in Salzburg and went on to become the first and youngest Austrian chef to receive a Michelin Star and 17 points from the famed Gault & Millau at age 23. He also held prominent chef positions at other Michelin and Gault & Millau-rated restaurants, including the 5-Star Relais & Château Hotel in Belgium and Austria.

He led the culinary departments for Cunard and Seabourn Cruise Line and held executive chef positions aboard Seabourn and Silversea Cruises.

He also spent time at Norwegian Cruise Line, first as vice president of food and beverage operations, and then vice president of hotel operations for the company’s 17 vessels. 

Muhlberger’s academic studies began in Salzburg, Austria, then continued in the U.S., where he earned a certificate in hospitality management from Cornell University and later, an Executive MBA from Florida International University in Miami.

“Crystal represents the pinnacle of luxury in the cruise industry and to join a company so dedicated to this exceptional standard is an honor,” Muhlberger said. “I am happy to lead these teams as we move into the next chapter for Crystal and welcome the challenge of finding ways to enhance what is already the very best in our business.”

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