Crystal Cruises, the Miami-based cruise line owned by Hong Kong-based parent conglomerate Genting, is currently shutting down its Florida office and terminating its staff after the Bahamas authorities seized two of its cruise ships.
Genting Hong Kong Suspended Its Activity and Filed for Liquidation
In January, Crystal Cruises announced it would suspend its activity until the end of April due to its parent company filing for liquidation with the Bermuda Supreme Court on January 18, amidst a total unpaid fuel bill since 2017 that has reached close to $4.6 million. Three of its cruise ships that were already at sea, Crystal Endeavor in Antarctica, Crystal Symphony, and Crystal Serenity in the Caribbean, would continue to sail and reach their destinations before the cruise lines temporarily terminated operations.
In an attempt to maintain its core assets protected and preserve its value, Genting Hong Kong planned to run its cruises out of its Asian offices via Dream Cruises Holding, a non-wholly owned unit of Genting. However, the subsidiary filed a petition for the winding-up of the company. As a result, all cruising activities and bookings were halted until further notice. All of Genting’s board of directors stepped down, including Lim Kok Thay, the company’s CEO, chairman, and executive director, while all Hong Kong sailings have been canceled until at least February 16 because of the harsh pandemic requirements regarding social distancing.
Crystal Cruises’ Call Center Is Processing Refunds
Peninsula Petroleum Far East Pte is the name of the fuel supplier that filed a lawsuit against Crystal Cruises and sought the arrest of the two vessels for unpaid bills worth $4.6 million, dating back to 2017. In an attempt to escape the seizure by US marshals in the context of a Florida judge issuing a warrant arrest, Crystal Symphony diverted to the Bahamas on January 24, joined by Crystal Serenity in Bimini last week the latter was denied docking in Aruba. The two luxury cruise ships reached the Freeport dock in the Bahamas on Friday night, where the marshals seized them.
Crystal Cruises’ call center is currently on pause and no longer accepting new booking requests while processing refunds for customers. While Genting Hong Kong is yet to issue an official statement, employees were laid off on February 9. V.Ships, a company that manages vessels, is expected to take over the reins of the two seized ships temporarily. The Miami, Florida office is also in the process of being closed down.
In May 2020, the company reported an official loss of $1.7 billion due to the pandemic. The company’s German subsidiary, MV Werften, also became insolvent.