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Crystal suspends ocean cruises through April, river through May

Crystal Symphony's current voyage is to end in Miami Jan. 22
Crystal Cruises is suspending ocean and expedition sailings through April 29 and river cruises through May to 'evaluate options.'

This follows parent company Genting Hong Kong's filing to wind up with cash expected to run out by the end of January.

In a statement today, Crystal said suspending operations will provide its management team with 'an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.'

Crystal's fate, though, is likely in the hands of joint provisional liquidators, with Genting HK's application to Bermuda, where the company is registered, to wind up the business. A hearing there is set for Thursday.

'A great brand with a great history'

Industry sources said they expect there are potential buyers for Crystal. At least two parties had looked at the company in the past year. 

'It's a great brand with a great history,' a luxury cruise expert said, adding: 'I think it will be a happy ending with new owners but it needs a future ... the brand needs new ships.'

Crystal Serenity and Symphony in Caribbean, Endeavor in Antarctica

Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, both sailing in the Caribbean, and expedition ship Crystal Endeavor in Antarctica will end their current voyages. Crystal Symphony will disembark in Miami Jan. 22, Crystal Serenity in Aruba on Jan. 30 and Crystal Endeavor in Ushuaia, Argentina, Feb. 4.

The five river vessels are already laid up.

Customers are being notified

Customers and travel advisors are being notified. Crystal said it will provide a full refund of cruise fare paid, processed automatically to the original form of payment 'so there is no further action on the guest’s part. If the cruise was paid via a future cruise payment or credit, the full value will be returned to their Crystal Society profile account.'

Crystal President Jack Anderson called halting ship operations an 'extremely difficult decision but a prudent one given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company, Genting Hong Kong.' He added: 'Crystal has been synonymous with luxury cruising for more than 30 years and we look forward to welcoming back our valued guests when we resume operations. We wish to thank our guests and travel advisors for their incredible support during these ongoing challenging times.'