“Quite expected”: Captain’s message onboard Crystal Symphony as ship seized

“Quite expected”: Captain’s message onboard Crystal Symphony as ship seized

MIAMI — Crystal Cruises’ two ocean-going ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, and its expedition ship Crystal Endeavor, have been seized.

Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity had been anchored at Bimini in the wake of parent company Genting Hong Kong’s bankruptcy protection filings last month. Crystal Symphony headed to Bimini first, in an effort to avoid the U.S. and accusations of millions of dollars in unpaid fuel bills. Crystal Serenity set course for Bimini too after it was turned away by authorities in Aruba.

As reported by Cruise Law News, when the ships were seized Crystal Symphony was still in Bimini while Crystal Serenity was anchored in international waters off the U.S. coast. Crystal Cruises’ expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor, has also been seized, in Ushuaia, Argentina.

In these last days just crew were onboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.

A Twitter post at @CrewCenter has a recording of the message from the Captain of Crystal Symphony: “The ship has been placed under arrest by the local authorities over some unpaid bills. And as bad as it sounds, it’s actually quite a good thing to happen,” he said. “We’ve been told that this will not affect any personal movements, so the crew movements and the crew signups can still go as planned. And we are in the process of preparing those. So some unfortunate news, but it was actually quite expected. Thank you for this, and until later.”

Crystal Cruises has suspended operations for its ocean and expedition ships through April 29, 2022, and river cruises through the end of May 2022.

Industry reaction to the cruise line’s troubles noted rapid expansion over the past few years, including the new venture into river cruising against competitors with many more years of experience.

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.

Crystal has paused its call centre until further notice. In a post on its site, the cruise line says travel agents who reside within the U.S. and Canada are directed to send inquiries to:  salessupport@crystalcruises.com.