A former Norwegian Cruise Line head of hotel operations has been named as chief operating officer by Crystal Cruises.

Karl Muhlberger, the first and youngest Austrian chef to receive a Michelin star, has also worked for Cunard, Seabourn and Silversea Cruises.

He will oversee Crystal’s expanding fleet, including hotel services, entertainment, food and beverage operations, concessions, technical services, reservations and guest relations.

The luxury line’s chief executive Tom Wolber said: “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 programmes for global travellers will be a great asset to our teams ashore and on board as we navigate new waters.

“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.”

Muhlberger, who began his career age 15 as a culinary apprentice in Salzburg, added: “Crystal represents the pinnacle of luxury in the cruise industry and to join a company so dedicated to this exceptional standard is an honour.

“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.”