New Crystal Cruises owners to launch ‘refundable’ deposit

The new owner of Crystal Cruises has outlined plans to offer customers the chance to pay “a nominal $500 deposit” to select their chosen suite as it highlighted its track record of “integrity”.

A&K Travel Group, owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage Group, confirmed the acquisition of two Crystal Cruises ocean-going vessels and the Crystal Cruises brand last month.

A&K chief executive Cristina Levis said it would take “some time” to finalise itineraries on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity (pictured), which are expected to enter service in 2023 after an extensive refit.

But she added that once A&K has released the ships’ new itineraries, passengers would be able put down a $500 per suite refundable deposit.

Levis said: “Travel advisors and their clients have been asking when they can book their next Crystal cruise. Our plan is to soon offer the opportunity to make an ‘Open Booking’ with a nominal $500 per suite refundable deposit.

“When the new deck plans, itineraries and pricing are complete, these Open Bookings will be given the first opportunity to select the voyage and suite category of their choice.”

Levis emphasised the new owners of the Crystal brand and ocean ships had a proven track record of “integrity” and “excellence”, thanks to their management of Abercrombie & Kent and Silversea Cruises. Former Silversea founder Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio is chairman of private equity business Heritage Group.

“We recognise that we must rebuild trust and confidence and expect to soon communicate about goodwill initiatives for 2023 sailings,”  Levis added.

She went on to say that A&K was “committed” to recreating “the most luxurious” cruise brand and revealed the company was aiming to recruit former Crystal Cruises crew.

“We are reaching out to invite them back and are confident many will return,” she said.

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