As Crystal Cruises continues to dismantle operations for the moment following the collapse of Genting Hong Kong, guests aboard Crystal Serenity have been informed that the ship will no longer be calling on Aruba as planned, but will instead be debarking in Bimini.
From that resort island in the Bahamas, guests will be ferried to Fort Lauderdale, and assistance will be offered for further travel plans for guests to return home.
Crystal Serenity Denied in Aruba
According to a letter to guests on board, Crystal Serenity was denied her scheduled entry into Aruba on Saturday, January 29, despite strong efforts to work with Aruban authorities. The letter stated:
“Although Crystal Serenity was cleared to arrive in Aruba today with all services paid for in advance and even though there are no reasonable risks or claims made against the vessel, local officials informed us on Friday at 4:30 p.m. that the ship will not be permitted to dock in Aruba as scheduled.”
The Crystal Cruises team, both onboard Crystal Serenity as well as the onshore guest services and administrative personnel, tried to resolve the situation so guests could debark as planned.
“Since receiving this most unfortunate news, we have spent hours conferring with Aruba officials toward a positive resolution – with even our humanitarian please falling on deaf ears – but to no avail,” the letter continued.
Crystal Serenity had begun what was to have been up to a 132-night Grand Voyage world cruise visiting 82 ports of call in 32 countries on January 17. Just days into that phenomenal sailing, however, guests were informed the voyage would end January 30 in Aruba.
Ship Diverting to Bimini With Assistance Offered
Now, because the ship has been denied in Aruba, Crystal Serenity is diverting to Bimini. The ship will arrive on Monday, January 31, for guests to debark that evening.
Crystal Cruises is making arrangements to assist guests, however. The Balearia ferry service will be used to transfer all guests from Bimini to Fort Lauderdale, which is estimated to take approximately two hours. Because of the ship’s arrival time in Bimini and the ferry transport time, guests will arrive in Fort Lauderdale at approximately 9 p.m. Monday evening.
Overnight hotel accommodations in Fort Lauderdale are being provided by Crystal Cruises, and any guests who booked air travel through the cruise line are having their air arrangements adjusted for travel on February 1.
Guests who booked return air travel independently are advised to contact their travel agents or work on their own booking arrangements from either the Fort Lauderdale or Miami airports, though Crystal Cruises air department is available to assist. Crystal Cruises will also cover air change fees associated with rebooking for all guests.
While it is surprising that authorities in Aruba would not permit Crystal Serenity to dock, the diversion to Bimini is a logical alternative. Crystal Symphony, another vessel in the Crystal Cruises fleet, was also diverted to Bimini earlier this month when an arrest warrant was issued for the vessel as the bankruptcy case against parent company Genting Hong Kong continued to evolve.
What’s Next for Crystal Serenity?
For now, it is uncertain what will happen to Crystal Serenity and the other Crystal Cruises ships, Crystal Symphony – which has already debarked all guests – and Crystal Endeavor, which is currently sailing an Antarctica voyage, scheduled to return to Ushuaia in Argentina on Friday, February 4.
Several river cruises ships are also part of the Crystal Cruises fleet, and their fates are also undecided.
Rumors are beginning to circulate that the ships may be sold, or another parent company may take over operation of Crystal Cruises as the company is restructured. For now, all Crystal Cruises sailings are suspended at least through April 29, 2022.
After that time, it is possible that Crystal Cruises could cease to exist, could return to operation under another parent company, or could adjust operations in another way. Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for updates on this popular and well-respected cruise line as developments continue.