CruiseA&K Travel Group may offer additional incentives while Royal Caribbean promises to honour ex-cruisers' lost deposits.

Gesture of goodwill from new owners of Crystal Cruises' ships

Royal Caribbean Group has acquired the former Crystal Endeavor expedition ship for Silversea Cruises.
Royal Caribbean Group has acquired the former Crystal Endeavor expedition ship for Silversea Cruises.

A&K Travel Group hinted that the new Crystal Cruises may offer incentives to attract cruisers to the brand following its financial collapse earlier this year.

"We sympathise with those travel partners and customers that are still waiting for claim settlements from the Crystal Cruises case," said Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group. "We recognise that we must rebuild trust and confidence, and expect to soon communicate about goodwill initiatives for 2023 sailings."

A&K Travel Group's announcement comes after Royal Caribbean Group unveiled plans on Monday, 18 July to honour lost deposits of Crystal Cruises customers who were booked to sail the Crystal Endeavor before its parent company filed to wind down, leading Crystal to cease operations.

Royal Caribbean will acquire the ship and add it to the fleet of Silversea Cruises with plans to rename it the Silver Endeavour.

"Delivering the best vacations in the world, responsibly, is Royal Caribbean Group's purpose," said Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty. "While our acquisition only covers the physical vessel, we want all of our guests to know we go above and beyond to take care of them. We believe those Crystal guests will receive back their deposits, but we want to give them added assurance."

According to Royal Caribbean, "To the extent the Crystal Endeavor guests do not receive their deposits back from Crystal or other sources, the Royal Caribbean Group will refund any amount paid on their new booking up to the amount of their lost deposits from Crystal."

A&K Travel Group, which acquired the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony cruise ships as well as the Crystal brand, plans to return the ships to service in 2023 following significant refurbishment. A&K also announced it is reaching out to former Crystal crew members to join its team, as has Silversea Cruises.

While A&K hinted it would incentivise cruisers to return to the brand under new ownership, Levis attempted to distance the new Crystal from the financial woes of the former brand whose customers lost deposits and travel agents lost commissions when the brand folded in February. Both, along with other creditors, are seeking redress though bankruptcy proceedings.

"We are not involved in the case and have nothing to do with approving or paying claims. We are legally not a party to, and have no say in these court-appointed efforts," said Levis, who added that questions regarding claims or credits should be directed to Michael Moecker & Associates, which is managing the bankruptcy.

She said past guests have expressed hope and support for the brand's revival, which has been "overwhelming and heartwarming."

While the new Crystal Cruises team is finalising itineraries, the brand will soon enable customers to do an "open booking." Such bookings would require a $500-per-suite refundable deposit and give those customers the first opportunity to select their voyage and suite category.

Source: Travel Weekly

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