Following a rocky start to 2022 that saw Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony seized by U.S. marshals in the Bahamas, and taken into custody due to financial challenges experienced by parent company Genting Hong Kong (the previous owner of Crystal Cruises, which shuttered in February), the two luxury cruise ships have new owners now.
A&K Travel Group Ltd., a travel company owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage, has announced that it has acquired Serenity and Symphony.
The two ships will resume service in 2023 after “undergoing extensive refurbishment” and will operate under the award-winning "Crystal Cruises" brand that has also been acquired by A&K Travel Group Ltd, according to a press release issues Wednesday (June 22).
"I am thrilled to start this new chapter and to be back in an industry that has always had, and always will have a special place in my heart. Thirty-five years ago, my family acquired control of Sitmar Cruises, building three of the first purpose-built cruise ships, and 30 years ago my family pioneered a new way of cruising,” said Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, co-chairman of A&K Travel Group Ltd., Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent.
“Our goal was to deliver the best experience, pampering guests from all over the world with around-the-clock butler service and extraordinary culinary experiences. Selling the cruise business that belonged to my family for a quarter of a century was a difficult decision, as I knew I would miss this industry immensely.”
"Therefore, when the opportunity arose to acquire Crystal Cruises, I did not think about it twice. Having next to me my incredible friend and inspiring leader Geoffrey Kent makes this venture even more enjoyable.”
Geoffrey Kent, co-chairman of A&K Travel Group Ltd. and Crystal Cruises, and founder, co-chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent, added: "Even though it seems like yesterday, 30 years have passed since the Lefebvre family and I had our first ship together...Manfredi and I have been best friends and business associates ever since.”
“The idea of combining the unparalleled onboard service that Crystal Cruises is known for, with the extraordinary tailor-made experiences Abercrombie & Kent has been successfully providing for our guests for the past 60 years, fills me with excitement, enthusiasm and pride.”
"So many emotions"
Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent will report to Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group Ltd.
“My return to luxury cruising after five years brings back so many emotions. It is an immense privilege to serve these two incredible brands that in the past decades have disrupted the travel industry numerous times,” Levis stated. “Manfredi, Geoffrey and I look forward to welcoming past Crystal and Abercrombie & Kent guests onboard, as well as those seeking rewarding luxury experiences."
"The acquisition of Crystal has been extremely challenging but the satisfaction of having this jewel in our family is the best payoff for all the hard work and efforts of the A&K team. Ad maiora Crystal Cruises!"
A&K Travel Group Ltd. has partnered with V.Ships Leisure, the world's leading cruise ship manager, based in Monaco.
“With their unique experience, global scale and passionate team, V.Ships Leisure was the natural choice,” the company said.