Genting Hong Kong Limited, the owner of Crystal Cruises, has confirmed further delays for the delivery of the luxury cruise line’s maiden expedition ship, now expected for around mid-2021.
In a perfect world, the 200-guest Crystal Endeavor should be in the hands of its new owners by now, and the 20,000 gross tonne ship equipped with helicopters and a submarine, should be operating its debut itinerary from Tokyo, Japan following the completion of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Instead, however, the ongoing coronavirus-induced temporary closure of Crystal Endeavor‘s MV Werften shipyard in Wismar, Germany continues to hamper the vessel’s completion. At the end of July, Crystal announced the pandemic situation left the cruise line little choice but to cancel all expedition voyages through to 1 May 2021. That new mooted date came after numerous postponements already.
Last week, in the face of a grim unaudited consolidated net loss for the six months ended 30 June 2020, Genting Hong Kong Limited revealed a string of cost reduction, cash conservation and capital raising measures to deal with the loss of revenue from not only Crystal Cruises, but sister brands Dream Cruises and Star Cruises, as well as the company’s entertainment and leisure businesses.
Genting’s seven-point strategy includes reducing onshore operating expenses in respect to employee costs, laying up most of the group’s ships (other than Dream Cruises’ Explorer Dream which is operating domestic voyages in Taiwan and SuperStar Aquarius and SuperStar Gemini – both leased by the Singapore Government), suspending almost all capital expenditure, as well as “delaying delivery of Crystal Endeavor and Global Dream…for about a year”.
Currently, the first of 40-odd voyages aboard Crystal Endeavor available to book online is a 14-night sailing from Tokyo to Osaka departing on 15 May 2021. The ship’s inaugural season that included sailings to Antarctica from Tasmania and New Zealand have been ditched, at least up until February 2023.
Genting said it expects the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to hamper the group’s businesses “as the spread and development of the virus has created significant uncertainty over when authorities in the relevant cruising markets will allow [the] resumption of the cruise travel”.
Crystal had already cancelled its 202o European River Cruise season, suspending all voyages aboard Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler and Crystal Ravel through until December 2020. Similarly, the remaining ocean voyages on Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony have been abandoned for the rest of 2020, and last Friday, Crystal axed all remaining yacht voyages (aboard Crystal Esprit) up until 9 January 2021.
Looking to the future, Crystal has already opened reservations for its 2023 Ocean Collection and has launched Crystal Clean+ 2.0, an enhanced level of measures to help safeguard the well-being of guests and crew.
Renderings of Crystal Endeavor © Courtesy of Crystal Cruises