What cruise passengers need to know
Following the collapse of parent company Genting Group, luxury cruise, expedition and river cruise operator Crystal Cruises has announced it will temporarily cease cruises while its management team considers options to continue operations, cruise review reports.
The line becomes the first cruise the operator faces significant financial and operational difficulties in 2022, and the first since several routes collapsed in the spring and summer of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic severely restricted travel around the world.
What happens when a cruise line goes bankrupt? It’s a scenario that Cruise Critic has explored extensively – and one that offers some hope for passengers who have booked with Crystal Cruises in terms of getting their money back.
Here’s what cruise passengers need to know about the current situation with Crystal Cruises:
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Is Crystal Cruises Bankrupt?
Technically, Crystal Cruises’ parent company, Malaysia-based Genting Group, is bankrupt. However, this greatly affects Crystal, as the line is a subsidiary of Genting and as such is also cash strapped.
Coupled with a global pandemic that is still hampering the financial health of the travel and cruise industries, Genting Group’s economic situation quickly became unsustainable.
Crystal Cruises no longer sails?
Crystal announced on Wednesday that its three ships currently in service – Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity and the line’s newest expedition vessel, Crystal Endeavor – will cease operations. Passengers will disembark and return home from Miami, Aruba and Ushuaia, Argentina.
However, Crystal isn’t temporarily suspending operations until the spring — at least for now. Ocean crossings are canceled until April 29, 2022.
All three cruise ships will be laid up at the end of their current cruises. Crystal says the line is still developing exact plans for its ships.
So while routes beyond April 29, 2022 remain available, the future of the business is not guaranteed at this point unless an investor financially rescues the line.
What about Crystal’s European river cruises?
Crystal’s European river cruise fleet is not operating as is the norm at this time of year. (The 2022 European river cruise season usually starts in March.)
For now, Crystal has announced that it will suspend its European river cruises until the end of May 2022. It is possible that an investment company – or even another river or ocean cruise operator – could acquire the assets. rivers of Crystal and exploit them as planned.
I have a future cruise booked with Crystal. What do I do?
Crystal states that guests with booked cruises who paid in cash (not future cruise credit) will be offered refunds automatically to the original method of payment.
However, if this cruise was booked with future cruise credit, that credit will be returned to the customer’s Crystal Society account.
I have future cruise credit with Crystal. What do I do?
Currently, there is no clear way to turn an FCC from a Crystal Society account into a refund. Those with FCCs should call Crystal or work with your preferred travel agent to discuss options. Be aware that this news will likely require customer service representatives to handle a large number of calls, which will increase wait times.
Cruise Critic is also investigating this scenario and will update this article once we have more information.
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Will another cruise line buy Crystal or its ships?
An increasingly plausible scenario is for another cruise line or investment firm to rush in and directly buy Crystal Cruises or invest the capital needed to keep the line afloat.
Two outcomes are possible in this scenario: a company buys Crystal and chooses to keep its operations and assets intact, and business continues as usual.
Another, more disruptive outcome involves a company buying Crystal and analyzing it, selling assets it does not consider essential to the business. The line’s river cruise ships are rumored to be on sale in 2021; now a sale of ocean vessels, river vessels or both is certainly possible in the short term.
What happens next?
In the short term, Crystal Cruises will cease operations and decommission its ocean-going fleet. Passengers who have booked in “cash” (including credit cards) are protected and will be reimbursed.
Passengers who have booked using an FCC or have outstanding credit on file should contact their travel consultant or Crystal Cruises for next steps.
Longer term, it’s possible to see a reboot of Crystal provided the line’s management team can come up with solutions, which could include anything up to full acquisition.
Cruise Critic will monitor this developing story and update this article as needed.
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