Guests And Onboard Vibe
Generally, guests on Crystal Cruises are between 55 and 65. Theyre well-traveled and enjoy the amenities of a luxury cruise but on a bigger scale than, say, luxury cruise competitors Seabourn and Silversea.
Our cruise felt like a large ship experience, but witheverything done at a very high level lovely suites, excellent service, manyspecialty restaurants, different entertainment venues, a casino, lavish Broadway-styleproductions, etc.
Because our cruise was a shorter one-week cruise, gueststended to be younger than the average age on longer cruises part of the workingwealthy class, many in their 40s and 50s.
Crystal is actually going after younger guests, aiming to tempt them with a larger variety of shorter cruises that have been added to its cruise calendar.
Uncertain Time For Crew Members As Crystal Cruises Shuts Down
Crew members onboard the Crystal Cruises ships operational until recently, Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony, and Crystal Endeavour are going through uncertain times.
As news came that the US-based employees had all received termination letters and would not be returning to work, crew members onboard had not received official statements from land-based company representatives.
The Captain of Crystal Serenity made an announcement on the ships PA system, stating:
I have been waiting for a statement from our President, but so far havent heard a word from their side. I have been informed that the entire Crystal Cruises office in the US is closing down. All of the employees received termination letters yesterday afternoon and most of them will have their last day at work tomorrow. And only a few of them will stay in the office until Friday.
Cruise Hive received news from a crew member onboard Crystal Endeavour which confirmed the words from the Captain, but also confirmed that crew members are being cared for appropriately:
Everything is still pretty fresh and we will know more in the upcoming days and weeks. One thing is for sure, the crew here onboard Endeavour is treated well and we are all fine. Everything that has been said is pretty much what we know as fact at this moment, but I would not like to speculate more., said the crew member who wished to remain anonymous.
Why Is This Happening
Genting has only just filed for bankruptcy due to issues with its MV Werften shipyard in Germany. The Asian-based company had been working on securing $88 million in backup funding, but the German federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern halted the deal. Genting had been struggling to funds in recent months due to the impact of COVID-19.
Its still unclear what this means for its three cruise brands of Crystal Cruises, Star Cruises and Dream Cruises, including the current construction of the Global Dream cruise ship at the Germany shipyard.
Genting said Wednesday: The Company and the Group have no access to any further liquidity under any of Groups debt documents and the Companys available cash balances are expected to run out on or around end of January 2022 according to the Companys cashflow forecasts.
We could see the brands broken up or even purchased in the future. Crystal Cruises covers the luxury market and was founded in 1988, with Crystal Harmony becoming its first vessel in 1990. Genting Hong Kong purchased the cruise line from Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha in early 2015 and launched into Yacht and River cruises in the years to follow.
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Crystal Cruises Will Set Sail Again
We are confident that this acquisition will reinforce Crystal Cruises‘ brand and support its transition into a new era of cruising in which we will continue to combine a luxurious onboard experience with creative, destination-led itineraries in many of the world’s best cruise destinations including Alaska, Asia, Europe, Australasia and the Americas.
Beloved for their 6-star, personalized service, their comfort and the sophisticated atmosphere, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony will continue to operate under the “Crystal Cruises” brand. The two ships, long-standing favorites with many cruise enthusiasts, will resume service next year, following extensive refurbishment.
We are looking forward to bringing our visitors aboard and demonstrating once again why Crystal Cruises is the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line. Meanwhile, you can discover new, fascinating destinations and experience an award-winning combination of exclusivity, comfort and authenticity with A& K, the Pioneers of Luxury Travel.
For more information please contact us
What Should Customers Do
Crystal Cruises had been providing refunds and cruise credit to customers impacted by suspended sailings, but it wasn’t clear what would happen now.
Customers who booked cruises using credit cards should contact their credit card companies, as some offer built-in trip protection coverage. Travelers who purchased travel insurance should check with those coverage providers as well.
The Federal Maritime Commission requires cruise lines to have “a bond or other financial surety available to refund passenger deposits in the event of nonperformance” for cruises embarking from U.S. ports with enough beds for at least 50 passengers. Claims would be processed by the bond or surety provider, not FMC.
But the FMC noted Friday that third-party insurers and credit card companies are known to provide “quicker and fuller” reimbursements.
“Any claims process established by the Commission currently limits reimbursement to only the ocean portion of the cruise fare and not any ancillary charges such as air fare, ground transportation, tours, or lodging,” the FMC said.
Additional information about the claims process “will be forthcoming,” according to the FMC. Affected customers can contact its offices at [email protected].
Laziza Lambert, director of strategic communications and public affairs for Cruise Lines International Association, says cruise-line-specific refund policies can be found in booking contracts available from travel advisors and cruise lines themselves.
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What About Crew And Other Employees
The status of the crew currently on Crystal Cruises’ three ocean and expedition ships wasn’t immediately clear.
Prior to reports of its shuttering, Crystal Cruises said in a statement via Public Relations Directors Vance Gulliksen: “The officers and crew on board are being well cared for and staying in single accommodations some of which are guest staterooms. We are making sure they are comfortable and able to enjoy the various amenities on board. Crew members have been paid all wages due and we are meeting and exceeding all contractual obligations.”
Numerous U.S.-based employees have posted about Crystal Cruises shutting down on social media, expressing gratitude for their tenure and colleagues, but declined comment to USA TODAY.
Customers like Robin Fastenau shared concerns for employees and appreciation for their service. She and her husband took their first Crystal cruise in December and had looked forward to many more.
“The Symphony crew was extraordinary, and they set a very high bar on cruise service,” Fastenau posted on Twitter. “I’ve never experienced anything like it on any other line.”
“I hope every member of the Crystal Cruises team finds new employment quickly,” she added. “Any company would be lucky to have them.”
Crystal Cruises: The End Of An Era
Over the last few weeks it has been extremely upsetting to seeCrystal Cruises, a line that has long been one of my personalfavourites, struggle and ultimately fail. What makes the situationall the more difficult to bear is that Crystal seemed to havefinally come through the challenges of the pandemic.
Both their classic ocean ships had resumed sailing in theCaribbean and their new expedition vessel, launched as recently asSeptember 2021, was operating an inaugural expedition cruise seasonin Antarctica, to great acclaim. It’s been a chaotic demise mademore challenging by the lack of communication from Crystal which,ultimately, was caused by parent company Genting Hong Kong, part ofthe huge Genting Group . The Genting Group is one ofthe biggest conglomerates in the far east, with 62,000 employeesand a market capitalisation of US$ 37.87 billion.
Genting’s management of Crystal dates from 2015 when theypurchased the line from the Japanese founders NYK. Ambitiousexpansion plans were announced including river, yacht, expeditionand even air programmes. Significant investment was made includingthe purchase of German ship builder MV Werften Holdings Ltd to help with Crystal’s growth as well as Dream Cruises, an Asiancruise brand under the Genting Hong Kong umbrella.
One thing worth noting here is that it appears that the USmanagement of Crystal Cruises LLC were not free to make decisionsrelating to the company, as everything was managed by the GentingHong Kong board.
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Crystal Cruises Suspends Operations Through Spring 2022 After Parent Company Files For Bankruptcy Protection
Date: Jan 20 2022
TORONTO One of the best-known brands in luxury cruising has been forced to temporarily suspend operations in the wake of bankruptcy filings for its parent company.
Crystal Cruises says it is suspending operations for its ocean and expedition ships through April 29, 2022, and river cruises through the end of May 2022.
The cruise lines parent company, Genting Hong Kong, part of the Genting Group, filed for bankruptcy protection on Jan. 19, 2022.
Speculations about Gentings financial stability have circled for years, even pre-COVID.
Genting Hong Kongs holdings also include Germany-based shipyard MV Werften, which filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 10, 2022. Crystal vessels built at MV Werften include river cruise ships Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler.
The statement on Crystals website, posted late afternoon on Jan. 19, 2022, says cancelling voyages will allow the cruise line to assess its options.
Suspending operations will provide Crystals management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.
Crystals three ships currently in operation Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony sailing in the Caribbean and Crystal Endeavor in Antarctica will complete their current voyages. Crystal Symphonys current voyage ends in Miami on January 22, Crystal Serenity in Aruba on January 30 and Crystal Endeavor in Ushuaia, Argentina, on February 4.
TRAVEL AGENT REACTION
What About Future Cruise Credits
As they canceled sailings due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, all cruise lines urged customers to take future cruise credits, in lieu of refunds. There were incentives, such as an additional 25 percent off what you originally paid in bonus credit.
If you took the deal with Crystal, what you have now is a useless voucher.
Its a more difficult situation, says Couch-Friedman. Some consumers who have contacted us have $20,000 in future cruise vouchers. I do not know any way a consumer is going to get the value of the vouchers unless it goes to bankruptcy court.
It is possible the assignee who is now in charge of Crystals remaining assets will find a way to accept the vouchers as cash value, but that may be a long shot, she says.
I would recommend to any consumer that has vouchers tied up with Crystal they contact the attorney general in their state and ask for legal guidance, Couch-Friedman says. There is no clear pathway that we can set a consumer on who has a voucher.
Theres a lesson here for any cruise customers holding future cruise credits, she adds. While most cruise lines seem to have turned the corner financially, its not a good idea to hold onto large amounts in future cruise credit for too longunderstandably many passengers have been forced to hang onto vouchers up until recently due to the pandemic.
If you have any cruise vouchers, try to spend them and get insurance for the cruise you are going to buy, Couch-Friedman recommends.
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The End Of Crystal Cruises As Company Headquarters Shuts Down
The luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises comes to an end as employees receive termination letters and headquarters shuts down.
One of the most luxurious cruise lines in the world is coming to an end. Crystal Cruises employees in the US all received termination letters this week and will no longer be returning to work.
The crew onboard the Crystal Cruises ships received the news through the Captains of the vessels, while no official announcements have been made by the company President or representatives ashore. Crystal Cruises earlier suspended cruises through April 29, 2022, with River cruises suspended through the end of May 2022.
Crystal Cruises Was One Of The Top Luxury Cruise Companies
Crystal Cruises was a top awarded luxury cruise company that was in business for over three decades. The company is owned by Genting Hong Kong, which talked about liquidation in its regulatory filings in January.
While Crystal Cruises has been facing challenges for quite some time now, it reached a tipping point this month. Earlier in February, U.S. authorities seized two of the companys ships over unpaid fuel bills of $4.6 billion. Crystal Cruises also shut its U.S. office and laid off the remaining employees in the country.
Former Crystal Cruises president Jack Anderson rues the fact that the parent company didn’t come forward to help them amid its own financial troubles. Speaking with Bloomberg, he said, Ultimately, we ended up with a bank account of zero.
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What Happens To The Company Now
Vessel management company V.Ships will become the new managing firm, one captain told his crew. This is according to a recording of his message posted to by Crew Center, a website run by former crew members.
In the recording, the captain said: “Unfortunately, this is the end of Crystal Cruises.” He added: “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”
According to the company website, Crystal Cruises said it has suspended voyages for its Ocean and Expedition ships through April 2022.
The company also said it has paused its call center until further notice.
What Does This Mean For Passengers’ Bookings
Its website states that Crystal Cruises “continues to process refunds as quickly as possible. However, there are delays from the credit card processors as they are receiving a very high volume of refund requests.”
Laziza Lambert, director of strategic communications and public affairs for Cruise Lines International Association, told USA Today that cruise-line-specific refund policies can be found in booking contracts, which are available from travel advisory firms and cruise lines themselves.
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Will Crystal Cruises Resume Sailing
Genting issued a statement alluding to hopes that they will be able to hang onto their cruise lines. The big question iswhere will the family-owned holding company find the funds to restart Crystal Cruises in April 2022?
It didnt take long for Sycamore Partners to buy up Royal Caribbeans premium line, Azamara when Royal announced it was selling its three-ship fleet. Since that time, barely a year ago, a fourth ship was added to Azamara.
If Genting cant restart Crystal Cruises, lets hope that another company like or even Sycamore Partners comes along with an offer.
Personally, my one and only Crystal Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity, a 20-day Panama Canal cruise from Florida to Los Angeles, was one of my top 5 best-ever cruises. I really hope that this cruise line can be saved!
Im the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breathstop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.
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Crystal Luxury Air/crystal Aircruises
Crystal Luxury Air private jet service launched in 2015 with the company’s Bombardier Global Express jet, available for charter and accommodating 12 guests. In August 2017, Crystal AirCruises took flight with the launch of Crystal Skye, a Boeing 777-200LR configured with 88 first-class, flat-bed seats, a lounge/dining room that seats 24, and a full bar. The National Hockey League was one of its first three charter customers. In addition, the company took delivery of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in May 2017. As of November 2017, this aircraft was in storage.
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Rising From The Ashes: Crystal Cruises Making Return In 2023
Defunct cruise line Crystal now has a second chance at life.
A& K Travel Group Ltd., owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage Group and chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre dOvidio, has acquired two of the former lines ships as well as the rights to its name.
Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony are now scheduled to resume service in 2023, following extensive refurbishment. Theyll continue operating under the Crystal Cruises brand, which the group has also acquired.
I am thrilled to start this new chapter and to be back in an industry that has always had, and always will have a special place in my heart. Thirty-five years ago, my family acquired control of Sitmar Cruises, building three of the first purpose-built cruise ships, and 30 years ago my family pioneered a new way of cruising, said Manfredi Lefebvre dOvidio, Co-Chairman of A& K Travel Group Ltd., Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent.
Selling the cruise business that belonged to my family for a quarter of a century was a difficult decision, as I knew I would miss this industry immensely. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to acquire Crystal Cruises, I did not think about it twice. Having next to me my incredible friend and inspiring leader Geoffrey Kent makes this venture even more enjoyable.
A& K Travel Group Ltd. has partnered with V.Ships Leisure for the acquisition, which is the worlds leading cruise ship management company.
Crystal Cruises Collapse: What Happened
The line announced in mid-January it was temporarily pausing sailings after its parent company, Genting Group, ran into financial difficulties.
“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,” Crystal President Jack Anderson said in an emailed statement. “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 Cruises had suspended the ability to make reservations for most cruises following its January announcement. Itineraries now say “Call for Availability” when selected. A further note says Crystal’s call center is closed.
According to the statement, the cruise line is notifying guests. Crystal will provide a full refund of cruise fare paid, which will be processed automatically to the original form of payment, according to the statement. Booked passengers need take no action. If guests paid with a future cruise credit, full value of that credit will be returned to their Crystal Society profile account.
It is a difficult position for the luxury line, which was founded in 1988 with a single vessel — the retired Crystal Harmony.
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