Crystal Cruises was – for a long time – one of the world’s most prestigious and luxurious cruise lines but now the line has fallen victim to the bankruptcy of their parent company Genting MV in Hong Kong.
Crystal Cruises has halted operations and at least one of their ships, the “Crystal Symphony” has fled creditors in the U.S. after dodging Millions in unpaid fuel bills in Florida.
U.S. authorities have now issued a warrant against the vessel and the owners decided to let it anchor in the Bahamas (Bimini) to avoid the Symphony being seized in Port Everglades, FL.
Here is the original statement of Crystal Cruises regarding the halt of their operations:
Crystal Suspends Operations of its Ocean and Expedition Voyages Through April 29, 2022; Through May 2022 For River voyages
Issued: Wednesday, January 19, 2022 5pm EST
Crystal announced today that it has suspended operations for its Ocean and Expedition ships through April 29, 2022, with River cruises suspended through the end of May 2022. Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.
Crystal Serenity and Crystal Endeavor will complete their current voyages on January 30 and February 4, respectively.
“This was an extremely difficult decision but a prudent one given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company, Genting Hong Kong,” said Jack Anderson, Crystal’s president. “Crystal has been synonymous with luxury cruising for more than 30 years and we look forward to welcoming back our valued guests when we resume operations. We wish to thank our guests and travel advisors for their incredible support during these ongoing challenging times.”
Crystal will provide a full refund of cruise fare paid, which will be processed automatically to the original form of payment so there is no further action on the guest’s part. If the cruise was paid via a Future Cruise Payment or Credit, the full value will be returned to their Crystal Society profile account.
Especially inconvenient: The ship was on a regular voyage and had a good number of passengers on board who are now being transported back to Florida BY FERRY SERVICE. What a fall from grace!
The “route adjustment” occurred after a U.S. judge ordered the ship seized last Thursday as part of a lawsuit filed against Crystal Cruises et al over unpaid fuel. Peninsula Petroleum Far East filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in a federal court in South Florida against Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises for owing more than US$4.6 million.
CBS has a great little episode about this incident:
The report by the passenger doesn’t sound all too bad. He managed to get an Uber from Fort Lauderdale to Miami airport for ~$60 and managed to get his flights rebooked.
The only inconvenience was that ferry ride back to Florida. If you’re wondering what the ferry looks like, here is an example from the ferry companies Twitter account:
ℹ️ .@B_caribbean, nuestra filial en el Caribe, reanuda el próximo 📆 10 de febrero los servicios de pasaje entre 📍 Fort Lauderdale (Florida) y las Bahamas con el 🚢 'Jaume II' tras meses realizando solo servicios con carga debido a las restricciones.
🔗 https://t.co/KJzLfSSKEz pic.twitter.com/Hdc72YpSL0
— Baleària 🛳 🤗 #ViajaComoEres (@Balearia) February 1, 2021
Definitely not a luxurious Crystal cruise ship. Depending on what’s the final destination for people it’d have probably made more sense to transport them to Nassau and just fly them home or for passengers to organize this by themselves.
Considering it’s Crystal, these passengers are probably rather well-heeled so the financial impact of this little detour is unlikely to hurt them especially since Crystal promised a full refund for this sailing.
The only problem is that as the guy in the video mentioned, there are some elderly people on these cruises who aren’t quite as mobile as the average person.
This situation was on the horizon for weeks yet travel agents kept selling Crystal Cruises like no tomorrow, eager to get the big commissions for the usually pretty expensive Crystal sailings. Genting MV the owner of Crystal has been teetering on the edge for a long time. Selling these voyages was irresponsible unless the customer really pushed for it after a stern warning.
There are plenty of casualties of their bankruptcy including a Genting-owned shipyard in Germany that’s currently building the world’s second-largest cruise ship, the Global Dream for Genting The ship is 75% complete but first Genting ran out of money and now they filed for bankruptcy.
A few weeks ago the German Government refused a request by Genting to prop up the shipyard and construction of the ship with German taxpayer money to secure jobs at the shipyard MV Werften. What a mess! I wonder if some cruise line is able to pick up the Global Dream for cheap once completed. But who will bankroll the completion and how long is that going to take?
I’m 100% sure that Crystal will be bought up and return to operation quite quickly. It’s a gemstone in the cruise industry with its affluent customer base and there was an interesting article in CIN this week, speculating about potential buyers of the line.
This was very embarrassing though and the Crystal prestige got at least a little dent, even though they apparently tried their very best to keep passengers in good spirits up to the moment they left the ship.
Passengers on a Crystal Cruises ship sailing the Caribbean had their holiday cut short, not by Covid but the bankruptcy of Crystal’s owner Genting MV in Hong Kong. This was a bankruptcy that was visible on the horizon for quite some time without any real way out such as a bailout or further loans.
Crystal is an unlikely victim, the line is well known for its expensive, luxurious sailings and affluent passengers. However, as they say, you can’t pick who your parents are and Genting Hong Kong acquired Crystal Cruises in 2015 for $550 million from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha. This now sealed their fate.