The new owners of the Crystal Cruises’ brand and sister ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, A&K Travel Group Ltd, have signalled their intention to offer some level of goodwill to guests caught out by the collapse of the brand earlier in the year.
LATTE can exclusively reveal the move comes as Heritage Group launches a new website for Crystal Cruises – at crystalcruises.com/ – promising that a “new chapter begins” for the six-star cruise line under the direction of Geoff Kent and Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio.
In an update this week, Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group, Ltd said the company had purchased the assets required to resurrect the operations of the former Crystal Cruises brand and would prioritise re-establishing brand confidence with the trade and consumers alike.
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“We are committed to recreating the most luxurious, award-winning cruise brand, beginning with significant refurbishments of Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity,” Levis said. Detailed plans and a timeframe will be made public once finalised, along with key organisational announcements.
That is likely to include the reappointment of Crystal’s former President and CEO Jack Anderson, as reported first in US trade media two weeks ago.
“Crystal’s extraordinary crew has always provided the unequalled difference in guest care and service,” she added. “We are reaching out to invite them back and are confident many will return.”
Levis said A&K Travel Group sympathises with travel partners and guests waiting on claim settlements with the Crystal Cruises, LLC Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors (ABC), initiated in Florida on 11 February 2022, but said that situation is out of A&K’s hands.
“We are not involved in the case and have nothing to do with approving or paying claims,” Levis said. “We are legally not a party to, and have no say, in these court-appointed efforts. This process is likely to take several months to complete, according to the Assignee.
“Our involvement was limited to purchasing specific assets and our significant monetary effort will provide funds to make a contribution towards paying creditors,” she added.
Levis went on to express appreciation for the past loyalty and support of Crystal’s travel partners and clients.
“The expressions of hope and support from past guests have been overwhelming and heartwarming.
“We recognise that we must rebuild trust and confidence and expect to soon communicate about goodwill initiatives for 2023 sailings.”
She emphasised that the new ownership of the Crystal brand and ocean ships has a proven track record of integrity and excellence with the management of Abercrombie & Kent and Silversea.
“Travel advisors and their clients have been asking when they can book their next Crystal cruise,” she said. “While it will take some time to finalise the itineraries, our plan is to soon offer the opportunity to make an ‘Open Booking’ with a nominal $500 per suite refundable deposit. When the new deck plans, itineraries and pricing are complete, these Open Bookings will be given the first opportunity to select the voyage and suite category of their choice.”
The company has promised exciting updates in the weeks ahead as it moves towards delivering the same high standard of excellence that distinguished Crystal Cruises.