'With regards to the June 29 article in Travel Weekly that alleges the Crystal River Cruises ships are for sale, we emphatically deny the accuracy of an email sent to our competitors by a Florida shipbroker, with whom we have no contractual relationship and to whom our legal team has issued an immediate cease and desist letter,' Littlejohn said in a statement Thursday.
Occupancies and yields up
Since launching in 2016, Crystal River Cruises has increased occupancy each year, sailing at greater than 97% occupancy in 2019, Littlejohn said, while yields have 'widely' expanded.
'Our forward year, globally-sourced bookings are up well in excess of 50%, selling at our absolute highest pricing ever, with a 28% capacity increase as for 2022 we have opened Crystal Mozart to all source markets rather than just Asia as planned pre-pandemic,' he added.
Genting Hong Kong restructuring completed
Littlejohn went on to note that this week, parent company Genting Hong Kong completed a financial restructuring agreement with its global creditors and, following on from that, will continue to engage in fundraising exercises to address liquidity needs as it navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aug. 29 river restart
'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.
He added: '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 travelers from across the globe in partnership with guests and travel advisors whose loyalty has remained steadfast with Crystal through these unprecedented times.'
Crystal Serenity to sail July 3, Endeavor July 17
The river-cruise resumption plans follow the restart of Crystal's ocean business with the upcoming July 3 departure of Crystal Serenity from Nassau, Bahamas, and the maiden voyage of the newly christened Crystal Endeavor on July 17 from Reykjavik, Iceland.
But a new plan for Crystal Symphony in lieu of Antigua/St. Maarten cruises
However, the company has just canceled Crystal Symphony's planned August through December season of departures from Antigua and St. Maarten. In a statement on its website, Crystal said the 'recent positive developments of ships sailing from US ports have prompted US travelers to show an increased preference for more direct access to luxury cruise options,' adding that a new close-to-home deployment for Crystal Symphony would be announced this week.