Following a report on June 28 that alleged “Crystal Cruises apparently has put its river fleet up for sale,” the river cruise line put out a statement “emphatically” denying the claims.
The original report noted the info came from an email from a Florida ship broker that was sent to other European river lines. It had said that the five river ships built by Crystal between 2016 and 2018 are currently “trading on the Rhine” and can “be developed for sale.” The email, according to the report, also said that “the owners are very serious sellers.”
The ships reportedly for sale were Crystal Mozart, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler, Crystal Ravel and Crystal Bach.
In a statement on Thursday, Crystal River Cruises SVP and managing director Walter Littlejohn said, “We emphatically deny the accuracy of an email sent to our competitors by a Florida ship broker, with whom we have no contractual relationship and to whom our legal team has issued an immediate cease and desist letter.”
In August 2020, according to our sister publication Travel Agent, Genting Hong Kong, the parent company of Crystal Cruises, filed a financial document with the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, explaining that it’s temporarily suspending all payments to the group’s financial creditors to preserve liquidity. The company at the time said that it was reserving its remaining available cash “to maintain critical services” for its operations. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have a material impact on the financial position and results of operation of the Group,” Genting’s filing said.
In a statement provided to us at the time, Crystal said, “It is important to understand that the company is not going out of business. Whatever option our parent company pursues, it will allow Crystal to operate its business.”
This week, however, GGR Asia reported (the day following the initial claim regarding the potential sale of Crystal’s river fleet) that Genting Hong Kong had concluded a series of deals with its global creditors aiming “to provide further capital and stability to the group.” The company said the deals included access to new loan facilities amounting to about $700 million, an amendment and extension of its existing financial indebtedness, and provision of “backstop funding” arrangements to address future liquidity needs.
In his statement, Littlejohn noted that the five-ship fleet sailed at over 97 percent occupancy in 2019 and, looking forward, “bookings are up well in excess of 50 percent, selling at our absolute highest pricing ever, with a 28 percent capacity increase.”
“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,” Littlejohn said. “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.”