Crystal Symphony, wanted in U.S. lawsuit, still in the Bahamas
Crystal Symphony

Crystal shuts down call centre; Crystal Symphony could be seized over unpaid US$4 million fuel bill

MIAMI — Crystal Cruises has shut down its call centre after suspending operations of its ocean and river cruise fleet until at least the spring, and now one of its ships, Crystal Symphony, is anchored in the Bahamas and avoiding the U.S. over an unpaid fuel bill.

Some passengers were reportedly ferried to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, while others were taken to local airports.

According to reports, Crystal Symphony was supposed to dock in Miami on Sat. Jan. 22, but instead sailed to the Bahamas, after a U.S. judge granted an order to seize the vessel as part of a lawsuit over US$4 million in unpaid fuel.

The lawsuit was filed in a Miami federal court by Peninsula Petroleum Far East against the ship under a maritime procedure that allows actions against vessels for unpaid debts. The complaint says Crystal Symphony was chartered or managed by Crystal Cruises and Star Cruises, which are both sued for breach of contract for allegedly owing $4.6 million in fuel.


As reported last week, Crystal Cruises announced it was temporarily suspending operations in the wake of bankruptcy filings for its parent company.

Ocean and expedition sailings have been suspended through April 29, 2022, and river cruises through the end of May 2022.

The cruise line’s parent company, Genting Hong Kong, part of the Genting Group, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Speculations about Genting’s financial stability have circled for years, even pre-COVID.

Genting’s acquisition of Crystal Cruises in 2015 brought lightning-fast expansion, including a fleet of river cruise ships, and later an expedition ship.

“Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward,” said the cruise line.

Crystal Cruises is one of the best-known brands in luxury cruising. Travel advisor Sandra McLeod of Red Door Travel in LaSalle, ON, told Travelweek that clients who have sailed on Crystal ships loved the experience.

However she says Crystal’s expansion and new markets like river cruising, where competitors have years of experience, took a toll. And the pandemic didn’t help: “I could see a problem coming and have been concerned for a while – they still owe me commission for a cancelled cruise – where they protected the commission. I will probably never see it now,” says McLeod.


On its site on Jan. 20, Crystal posted notification of its suspension of operations. The cruise line says agents and clients impacted by the cancellations are currently being notified. Crystal says it will provide a full refund of cruise fare paid, which will be processed automatically to the original form of payment so there is no further action on the guest’s part. If the cruise was paid via a Future Cruise Payment or Credit, the full value will be returned to their Crystal Society profile account.

Late on Jan. 21, Crystal updated its notification: “The company has also paused its call centre until further notice.”

Crystal says agents and passengers can email for further information, at these email addresses:

The Jan. 21 update adds: “Please note that we will continue to take new reservations for future voyages via with no money down until March 1, 2022. We have also temporarily paused accepting payments for existing Ocean, River and Expedition bookings at this time.”

With file from The Associated Press

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