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Crystal’s Woes: Parent Genting Hong Kong Files For Insolvency

Crystal Debussy, pictured here in Amsterdam shortly before I boarded in October 2021. © Ralph Grizzle

Crystal is suspending operations for its ocean and expedition ships through April 29, 2022, with river cruises suspended through the end of May 2022.

The company announced in a letter to guests today that “Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Crystal’s parent, Genting Hong Kong says that it will run out of cash by the end of this month, putting the fate of Crystal in question. That’s not to say that Crystal is dead in the water.

Of course, one option is that creditors will demand that Crystal permanently cease operations and sell off assets. But another option is that creditors opt to continue operating the company (basically funding operations) and then sell to a suitable party. Companies like Sycamore Partners, which bought Azamara last year, could be potential buyers.

The latter option would make the most sense to us largely because of the brand reputation that Crystal has build during its three decades of operation. We expect to know more about Crystal’s direction, perhaps as early as the end of the week, but the larger story may take longer to unwind.

For our part, we’re hopeful that the talented and passionate team at Crystal will prevail. On the oceans and rivers, Crystal has given many of us avid cruisers some of the best cruise experiences of our lives. I can’t imagine that anyone, competitors or otherwise, who has a heart and soul would want to see Crystal and its employees sink.

Crystal is the first major cruise company to be claimed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our hope is for survival and a happy outcome.

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