Royal Caribbean Group today announced it has received court approval to acquire the former Crystal cruise ship Endeavor. Originally delivered to Crystal Cruises in 2021, the ship will be renamed Silver Endeavour when it officially joins the Group’s wholly owned subsidiary, Silversea Cruises’ fleet, this month. Read the rest of this entry »
If someone had to take over the Crystal brand, travel industry insiders say, there’s no better candidate than A&K chairman Manfredi Lefebrvre d’Ovidio. But still, there’s a long road ahead before travel advisors and their customers are made whole.
The announcement last week that Heritage Group, owner of A&K Travel Group, will acquire Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony, and the rights to the Crystal brand—and last week’s news that it also is interested in Crystal Endeavor—was music to the ears of those who still hope to receive some commissions and sell the line again to its loyal customers.
Serenity and Symphony, purchased from Genting Hong Kong for a reported combined $128 million, are expected to resume service under the Crystal Cruises name next year after undergoing extensive refurbishment. And, on Thursday, Seatrade Cruise News quoted Lefebrvre d’Ovidio as saying, “The logical thing would be for us to have the ship [Crystal Endeavor]. Why take pieces out of it?” Read the rest of this entry »
A&K Travel Group Ltd. has acquired the luxury cruise vessels Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. A&K Travel Group , is owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage (the industrial holding company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio). Read the rest of this entry »
What’s a travel advisor to do when a preferred supplier like Crystal cruises stops sailing? Communicate with your customers and be transparent. In the case of Crystal, you have to look at your booked customers in three buckets and reach out to each with targeted communications, says Alex Sharpe.
The CEO of Signature Travel Network, himself a former SVP of Regent Seven Seas, immediately reached out to legal counsel, who told him “you should cancel and dispute charges right away,” he told TRO. “With the ‘reserve accounts’ in place with the credit card colmpanies, I don’t know that disputing charges is critical, but at this point, it couldn’t hurt.”
Here’s an edited version of what Sharpe had to say in our 45-minute conversation last week: Read the rest of this entry »
Crystal is suspending operations for its ocean and expedition ships through April 29, 2022, with river cruises suspended through the end of May 2022.
The company announced in a letter to guests today that “Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Crystal’s parent, Genting Hong Kong says that it will run out of cash by the end of this month, putting the fate of Crystal in question. That’s not to say that Crystal is dead in the water. Read the rest of this entry »
Seems that every time I host a cruise, I end up committing to hosting more. In 2022, I am now hosting a total of five trips. Three of those are sold-out barge trips that got pushed forward from 2019. Two, however, are brand new, and I am excited about both of these trips because they sail a couple of my favorite itineraries. Read the rest of this entry »
I now know what it’s like to be a ping pong ball. Trips booked, then postponed, on again, off again, vaccine freedom, then Delta dread, governments imposing mandatory quarantines, then …
We were all set for our October 4, 2021 Crystal Debussy cruise on the Rhine. Flights booked, hotels booked. Ready. Set. Go. Not so fast. A month before our departure, in early September, the government of the Netherlands imposed new rules that required both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans to quarantine for 10 days. Crystal and other river cruise operators were left scratching their heads, along with those of us who had booked cruises departing from Amsterdam.
What to do? A 12-hour transit loophole provided a solution, a not-so-great one. The idea was that we would cancel our hotel rooms, reschedule our flights to arrive the day we were to step on Debussy and get the herring out of the Netherlands as quickly as possible – well, at least within 12 hours so as not to violate the quarantine requirement. Read the rest of this entry »
A decade ago, many expedition ships were retired ice breakers lacking in creature comforts such as nice staterooms and good food. That situation started to change when some traditional luxury small ship cruise lines and charter operators ordered “luxury expedition ships.” These ships combined their usual cruising features with polar-rated PC6 hulls that could handle ice packs in Antarctica and, hopefully, transit the Northwest Passage unassisted.
Many of the ship designers let their imaginations run wild. They added a helicopter and a mini-submarine; and “garages” that permitted the vessels to launch and retrieve Zodiacs and water toys from inside the ship. Most also supplemented the crew with naturalists, professional photographers, and armed polar bear guards—bringing some guest-crew ratios to almost 1:1. Read the rest of this entry »