Crystal Cruises has reacted angrily to reports that it’s put its fleet of five river ships up for sale.
The company said it ’emphatically denied’ the accuracy of an email sent by a ship broker to rival European operators inviting offers for Crystal Mozart, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler, Crystal Ravel and Crystal Bach.
Walter Littlejohn, senior vice president and managing director of Crystal River Cruises, said it had ‘no contractual relationship’ with the broker and ‘our legal team has issued an immediate cease and desist letter’.
In a statement, he added: ‘Crystal River Cruises launched to great acclaim in 2016 and in each successive year has posted record occupancy, and widely expanding yields, culminating with the five-ship fleet sailing at over 97 per cent occupancy in 2019.
‘Our forward year, globally-sourced bookings are up well in excess of 50 per cent, selling at our absolute highest pricing ever, with a 28 per cent capacity increase as for 2022 we have opened Crystal Mozart to all source markets rather than just Asia as planned pre-pandemic.
‘This week, Crystal’s parent company, Genting Hong Kong, successfully completed a financial restructuring agreement with its global creditors and following on from that, the company, like all other responsible enterprises, will continue to engage in fundraising exercises to address liquidity needs as it navigates through the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘We would like to assure our valued guests, travel advisors and team members that Crystal is steadfastly focused on pivoting away from the travails of the pandemic as we prepare to gradually resume service this year on August 29 with Crystal Ravel on the Danube and August 30 with Crystal Debussy on the Rhine, both of which are very heavily booked.
‘This resumption follows the restart of our ocean business with the upcoming July 3 sailing of Crystal Serenity from Nassau, Bahamas, and the July 17 maiden voyage of the brand-new expedition ship Crystal Endeavor, just christened in Germany last weekend, from Reykjavik, Iceland. Soon the company will announce a revised restart of the Crystal Symphony with voyages beginning late summer.
‘All of us are excited about focusing on what matters, doing business with the highest integrity and delivering unrivalled and exceptional vacations to delighted luxury travellers from across the globe in partnership with guests and travel advisors whose loyalty has remained steadfast with Crystal through these unprecedented times.’
Earlier, a spokesperson for the line said: ‘Crystal is aware of the email sent to our competitors by a Florida ship broker. It is customary for brokers to put out feelers, assets to be put on the market as part of a valuation exercise and companies making overtures for possible mergers and acquisitions. In fact, since Crystal River Cruises launched to great acclaim, the company has been approached by suitors in the past.’
Last week, Crystal Cruises confirmed it was in discussions to manage and operate new ships based on Crystal Endeavor for hotel brands. It is also considering building a new class of 2,000-passenger ships for the hotel groups but the spokesperson said the discussions had not been ‘finalised’.