Crystal Cruises, under new ownership by A&K Travel Group, has announced a new ‘Exceptional Initiative’ for guests who lost money due to the company’s financial issues under its previous ownership, Genting Hong Kong.
The initiative aims to assist affected guests and their travel advisors by offering them credit towards future Crystal voyages on the Crystal Serenity or Crystal Symphony.
Crystal Initiative Offers Credit for Future Voyages
A new initiative launched by Crystal cruises allows eligible former Crystal guests with a verified claim in the Crystal Cruises LLC case to apply for a credit to be used towards future voyages on either the Crystal Serenity or Crystal Symphony.
Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Co-Chairman of A&K Travel Group and Crystal, emphasized that the Exceptional Initiative is not a legal obligation but is intended to help former guests and travel agents recover their money.
Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio: “This Initiative is a plan we have been working on since we acquired Crystal, as it will benefit our most loyal customers. This is not something we were legally obliged to do. However, we believe that being Exceptional means doing what is unexpected, unusual, and unprecedented.”
“We are choosing to help former guests and travel agents recover their money and hope we will be able to focus on returning to service, the exceptional crew and onboard service that has made Crystal an award-winning cruise line for three decades.”
Mark Healy, Executive Vice President of Moecker Associates and responsible as Assignee for handling the bankruptcy proceedings, praised Crystal’s decision.
Mark Healy: “What Crystal has decided to do with this gesture is remarkable partly because they had no obligation to do it, but mostly because it gives customers another alternative to recover funds lost in the shutdown.”
Healy also mentioned that they are working on analyzing claims and hope to release the first reimbursements by the end of the summer.
To qualify for the credit, guests must have filed a valid claim in the Crystal Cruises LLC case for amounts owed related to canceled cruises on the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The amount of the credit will be restricted to the outstanding balances owed to the guest minus any funds already refunded through the insolvency proceedings.
The credit will be split into five installments to be applied towards five future bookings, with the first booking required to be made by July 1, 2023, and the credit to be utilized towards voyages departing on or before December 31, 2025.
Crystal Cruises Owed Over $100 Million, Said CEO in 2022
The initiative from Crystal stems from the company’s bankruptcy in 2022. In February of that year, CEO Jack Anderson revealed that Crystal Cruises owed more than $100 million in outstanding deposits due to its financial troubles under Genting Hong Kong.
Genting had abandoned Crystal Cruises, leaving it to deal with the fallout of unpaid deposits, outstanding fuel bills, and crew members awaiting repatriation.
Anderson stated: “Genting HK effectively washed their hands of Crystal when they filed liquidation in Bermuda. At that point, our relationship with Genting was effectively severed, and we were cut loose to fend for ourselves.”
While guests who had paid for their cruises by credit card may have been eligible for refunds through secured accounts held by credit card companies, those who had paid in cash or by bank transfer were unlikely to recover their funds.
Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony Sailing July & September
The revamped Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony are set to sail later this year. Crystal has reduced the maximum number of guests onboard both ships, allowing for more space and a nearly 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio to ensure a personalized and friendly experience.
The Crystal Serenity now has a maximum guest capacity of 740, down from 1,040 passengers, while the Crystal Symphony accommodates 606 guests, down from 960 passengers.
Crystal Serenity‘s first sailing is scheduled for July 31, departing from Marseille on a 12-day Mediterranean cruise. The ship will sail to Lisbon, stopping in Portofino, Italy; Monaco; Corsica, France; Barcelona, Cartagena, Malaga, Spain; and Portimao, Portugal.
Meanwhile, Crystal Symphony‘s first cruise will be a 7-day Mediterranean journey, departing on September 1 from Athens, Greece. The ship will visit Santorini, Patmos, and Kos, Greece, followed by a stop in Izmir, Turkey, and an overnight stay in Istanbul.