Crystal Cruises Suspends Operations Due to Genting HK Insolvency
Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises has become the latest casualty in the insolvency of its parent company Genting Hong Kong. Late today, the cruise line that had been acquired by Genting Hong Kong in 2016 sent out an email announcing that it would suspend the operations of its three cruise ships until April 2022 saying that management would use the time to access the current situation and develop future plans.
“This was an extremely difficult decision but a prudent one given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company, Genting Hong Kong,” said, Crystal Cruises’ president Jack Anderson. He said in his statement that the company looks forward to welcoming back its valued guests when it resumes operations.
The company’s two larger cruise ships, the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, are both currently in the Caribbean. The company said they would complete their current cruises, disembarking passengers in Florida this weekend and Aruba on January 30. The third cruise ship, the smaller luxury expedition ship Crystal Endeavor, which just entered service in July 2021, is currently sailing in the Antarctic and due to return to Ushuaia, Argentina, on February 4.
Crystal said it would suspend the three ocean going cruise ships’ operations until the end of April 2022. The company also extended the winter lay-up for its European river cruise ships saying they would return to service in May 2022.
“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 company said in a notice posted on its website.
The decision came after the large travel companies advised customers today to suspend future payments to the cruise line. Travel advisors were warning customers that Genting Hong Kong filed for a possible liquidation of the company yesterday reporting that it expected to run out of cash to continue operations by the end of January. Genting Hong Kong said that it planned to continue operations of its Asian cruise line Dream Cruises. They warned however in their filing that they expected that the majority of their operations would cease and that some assets might be sold as they explored maximizing values and the potential organization of the Hong Kong parent company.
Crystal Cruises started operations in 1990 as an investment by Japan’s NYK Line with U.S. management. The first cruise ship, the Crystal Harmony, was built by Mitsubishi in Japan and later joined by a second similar cruise ship built in Finland. NYK maintained the company as a prestige operation often reported to be operating at a financial loss. A newer, larger cruise ship was built in France and introduced in 2003 while the original vessel transferred to NYK’s cruise operations in Japan. Crystal recently had sought to become a broader luxury brand, introducing yacht cruises, charter luxury air, and plans for ocean residences on a new generation of cruise ships that would have been built by MV Werften.
Crystal scaled back its expansion, canceling the plans for the ocean residence and working on redesigns for its future ocean cruise ships. Plans called for a sister ship to the Crystal Endeavor, but the first expedition cruise ship ran over budget and behind schedule, only being completed in 2021 after the German state provided the first loans to the shipyard.