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Crystal Cruises to rise again under new owners

June 22, 2022
4 min read
Crystal Serenity
Crystal Cruises to rise again under new owners
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It looks like luxury cruise operator Crystal Cruises will rise again.

The high-end travel company A&K Travel Group on Wednesday announced it had bought the bankrupt line's brand name and two biggest oceangoing ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, with plans to relaunch the brand in 2023.

The purchase of the two oceangoing ships was done in conjunction with Heritage, the holding company controlled by former Silversea Cruises owner Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, A&K said.

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Lefebvre d'Ovidio also owns a controlling stake in A&K Travel Group, the parent company of luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent. He serves as its co-chairman alongside founder Geoffrey Kent.

The announcement comes as various pieces of Crystal Cruises are being sold off by liquidators for the brand, which collapsed along with its parent company Genting Hong Kong earlier this year after revenues plummeted due to COVID-19 pandemic-related shutdowns.

"I am thrilled to start this new chapter and to be back in an industry that has always had, and always will have a special place in my heart," Lefebvre d'Ovidio said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

He and his family have a long history in the cruise business. They owned Sitmar Cruises, which later was merged into Princess Cruises, in the 1980s, and later founded Silversea. Lefebvre d'Ovidio sold Silversea to Royal Caribbean Group, the parent company of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, in two transactions starting in 2018.

"Selling the cruise business that belonged to my family for a quarter of a century was a difficult decision, as I knew I would miss this industry immensely," Lefebvre d'Ovidio said in the statement. "Therefore, when the opportunity arose to acquire Crystal Cruises, I did not think about it twice."

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Lefebvre d'Ovidio owns 85% of A&K Travel Group, with the remainder owned by Kent. The two luxury travel pioneers have been friends for decades.

"The idea of combining the unparalleled onboard service that Crystal Cruises is known for, with the extraordinary tailor-made experiences Abercrombie & Kent has been successfully providing for our guests for the past 60 years, fills me with excitement, enthusiasm and pride," Kent said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

Crystal Cruises suspended operations in January after its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, ran out of money and filed for a type of bankruptcy that involves a complete liquidation of the firm. In addition to Crystal Cruises, subsidiaries of Genting Hong Kong that controlled Asia-based Dream Cruises and Star Cruises also are being liquidated.

Related: Giant Dream Cruises ship to be scrapped before it ever sails

In its announcement, A&K Travel Group only mentioned restarting Crystal Cruises with the two ocean ships that it had acquired.

The fate of several more pieces of Crystal Cruises, most notably its river cruise division, which includes five vessels, and its new expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor, have yet to be announced by the brand's liquidators.

A&K Travel Group and Heritage didn't reveal how much they paid for the two Crystal ships, which were auctioned off to the highest bidder in the Bahamas last week.

Both of the ships will undergo extensive refurbishments before being put back in service, A&K Travel Group said.

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Featured image by The 980-passenger Crystal Serenity will visit the Maldives in 2022 as part of an around-the-world voyage from Miami. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more