Crystal Cruises ūüöĘ

by | Feb 24, 2022 | Travel


Crystal Cruises is¬†reportedly shutting down at least its U.S. operations¬†weeks after¬†an¬†arrest warrant was issued¬†for its¬†Crystal Symphony ship over unpaid fuel bills, according to Bloomberg,¬†Travel Weekly and numerous other¬†trade publications.The¬†Federal Maritime Commission¬†said Friday it is aware of media reports¬†that the cruise line has ceased operations and is receiving inquiries on how to obtain booking refunds.¬†While the cruise line¬†has not commented, an inside source¬†familiar with the matter¬†told¬†USA¬†TODAY termination notices were issued¬†to U.S. staff. Multiple¬†Crystal Cruises employees have also posted about the shuttering on social media¬†but¬†declined to comment.As of Tuesday, the luxury cruise line’s website still said, “we will continue to take new reservations for future voyages¬†via our website with¬†no money down until March 1, 2022.”Crystal Cruises had already suspended sailings¬†through late April and May after its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, declared bankruptcy in early January.¬†CAN THEY DO THAT?:Crystal Symphony changed course, kept passengers an extra dayWHAT TO KNOW:Crystal Cruises temporarily halts sailings due to bankruptcySingapore-based¬†Peninsula Petroleum Far¬†East has sued¬†Crystal Cruises¬†and Star Cruises, also owned by Genting Hong Kong, for¬†over $4.6 million¬†in unpaid bills, seeking more than $1.2 million from the¬†Crystal Symphony vessel alone.A¬†Jan. 19¬†statement from Crystal Cruises¬†said¬†suspending operations would give management¬†time¬†to¬†“evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.”On Tuesday,¬†London-based ship management company V.Ships Leisure confirmed¬†it is now managing¬†three Crystal Cruises vessels: Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity¬†and expedition ship Crystal Endeavor.¬†¬†¬†USA TODAY has reached out to¬†Peninsula Petroleum Far¬†East, its lawyers, Genting Hong Kong¬†and¬†Crystal Cruises,¬†among others, who have all either declined comment or not responded.¬†Where are the passengers?Crystal Cruises’ last¬†passengers ended their Antarctica voyage on¬†the Endeavor¬†as scheduled¬†Feb. 4. The Symphony and Serenity’s last voyages ended in January, so there were no passengers on board any of the ships.River cruising hadn’t started yet for the season.¬†What about crew and other¬†employees?¬†The status¬†of the crew currently on Crystal Cruises’¬†three ocean and expedition ships wasn’t immediately clear.Prior to reports of its shuttering, Crystal Cruises¬†said in a statement via Public Relations Directors¬†Vance¬†Gulliksen:¬†“The officers and crew on board are being well cared for and staying in single accommodations¬†some of which are guest staterooms. We are making sure they are comfortable and able to enjoy the various amenities on board.¬†Crew members have been paid all wages due¬†and we are meeting and exceeding all contractual obligations.”Numerous U.S.-based employees have posted about Crystal Cruises shutting down on social media, expressing gratitude for their tenure¬†and colleagues, but declined comment¬†to USA TODAY.Customers like¬†Robin Fastenau¬†shared concerns for employees and appreciation for their service.¬†She and her husband took their first Crystal cruise in December and had looked forward to many more.”The Symphony crew was extraordinary, and they set a very high bar on cruise service,” Fastenau¬†posted on Twitter.¬†“I’ve never experienced anything like it on any other line.””I hope every member of the Crystal Cruises team finds new employment quickly,” she added. “Any company would be lucky to have them.”What should customers¬†do?Crystal Cruises had been providing refunds and cruise credit¬†to customers impacted by suspended sailings, but it wasn’t clear what would happen now.Customers who booked cruises using¬†credit cards should contact their credit card companies, as some offer built-in trip protection coverage.¬†Travelers who purchased travel insurance should check with those coverage providers as well.¬†The¬†Federal Maritime Commission¬†requires cruise lines to have “a bond or other financial surety available to refund passenger deposits in the event of nonperformance”¬†for¬†cruises embarking from U.S. ports with enough beds for at least 50 passengers. Claims would be processed by the¬†bond or surety provider, not FMC.But the FMC noted Friday that¬†third-party insurers and credit card companies are known to provide “quicker and fuller” …
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