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A&K Travel Group Acquires Crystal Brand and Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony


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Posted (edited)

 

MONACO, June 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A&K Travel Group Ltd., the pioneering travel company owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage (the industrial holding company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio), has acquired the luxury cruise vessels Crystal Serenity and Crystal 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.

"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. 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," said Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Co-Chairman of A&K Travel Group Ltd., Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent.

"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," added Geoffrey Kent, Co-Chairman of A&K Travel Group Ltd. and Crystal Cruises, and Founder, Co-Chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent.

Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent will report to Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group Ltd., who commented: "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. 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 maioraCrystal 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.

Global law firm Paul Hastings LLP acted for A&K Travel Group Ltd., led by London M&A partner Matthew Poxon, working with London Finance partners David Ereira and Peter Hayes, and New York Finance partner John Storz. Associates Elizabeth Athanassios, Dante Adams, Rohin Gosh Dastidar and Cole Harlan were also part of the legal team.  Callenders Law acted for A&K Travel Group Ltd. in respect of Bahamian law, while HFW and Stephenson Harwood LLP provided maritime law expertise.

CMC Capital, Limited advised A&K Travel Group Ltd. in the acquisition.

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SOURCE A&K Travel Group Ltd.

 

https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/a-amp-k-travel-group-ltd-acquires-crystal-serenity-and-crystal-symphony-818203049.html?

Edited by Stickman1990
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  • Stickman1990 changed the title to A&K Travel Group Acquires Crystal Brand and Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony
Posted (edited)

Mmm 🤔 interesting. I am not sure how I feel about this…Crystal died leaving hundreds if not thousands of creditors and now Crystal has raised from its grave without debts? Somehow it does not feel right. 
 

I mean, if I buy a house who has a mortgage on it, I do not have to pay the mortgage? How is this possible?

 

A small recapitulation:

 

1) Crystal ceased operations without filing for bankruptcy 

2) Crystal appointed assignees for liquidation

3) It turned out to be that Crystal did not own anything and the assignees will most likely not be able to pay creditors

4) Crystal name and ships and data basis goes on sale (on that basis data no mention of creditors?)

5) A most experienced and recognized group of people buy Crystal name and ships and data basis and will start sailing again under the name Crystal. 
6) This is the same Crystal but free of debt and with new owners.

 

Why am I feeling like a fool 🤔

 

Ivi

 

 

 

Edited by travelberlin
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3 minutes ago, travelberlin said:

Mmm 🤔 interesting. I am not sure how I feel about this…Crystal died leaving hundreds if not thousands of creditors and now Crystal has raised from its grave without debts? Somehow it does not feel right. 
 

I mean, if I buy a house who has a mortgage on it, I do not have to pay the mortgage? How is this possible?

 

A small recapitulation:

 

1) Crystal ceased operations without filing for bankruptcy 

2) Crystal appointed assignees for liquidation

3) It turned out to be that Crystal did not own anything and the assignees will most unlikely do not be able to pay creditors

4) Crystal name and ships and data basis goes on sale

5) A most experienced and recognized group of people buy Crystal name and ships and data basis and will start sailing again under the name Crystal. 
6) This is the same Crystal but free of debt and with new owners.

 

Why am I feeling like a fool 🤔

 

Ivi

 

 

 

In the legal sense, it's not the same company. It will have the same name and same ships (and hopefully the same "Crystal magic,") but it's an entirely new entity that doesn't owe any of the previous creditors or passengers anything financially. 

 

This is how business works. The original Rolls-Royce motorcar company doesn't exist anymore. The name and brand were purchased by BMW in the early 2000s. They tried to recreate the "Rolls-Royce magic" from scratch using only the Rolls-Royce name and the Spirit of Ecstasy icon. But other than that, the "new" Rolls-Royce company has no link to the storied original company. They're two completely different and unrelated entities. Same situation here.     

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I am glad the ships have been purchased plus the brand.

 

I know some thought the ships would be scrapped.  A lot of discussion about that.

 

And some questioned could you buy the brand as part of the transaction.  Some discussion about that.

 

My hope was this would all come together.

 

I knew it might not but I was hopeful it would happen.  

 

 

Another example of my belief never give up and it's never over until it's over.

 

So I am not moving on as some have said they will.  That is not to say I won't sail on other lines.  We have since our first Crystal sailing in 2002 but since that time Crystal has been our go-to cruise line and my "hope" is this is the case going forward.

 

I mentioned this early on but in our early days of sailing Crystal we met some nice people many who are still our friends today who spoke about the glory days of Royal Viking.  This included guests, entertainers and crew members.  Based on their descriptions I know we would have loved Royal Viking.  At the same time early on we met some guests who enjoyed Crystal but for them the QE2 was the ship they loved.  I get that too.

 

I just didn't want to be one of those guests on another line talking about the good old days of Crystal Cruises which in-time with new cruisers would be a line no one knew about.  

 

So for me today this is great news as I know it is for several people both guests and crew some of whom I have heard from since the news broke.

 

So I am not moving.  Anne Marie and I plan to return to Crystal Cruises as soon as we can to make more memories which will last a lifetime.

 

Keith

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19 minutes ago, Nymich said:

I wonder if they will be refunding all the money people lost from the old Crystal.

The new owners are under no obligation, but as I’ve said in another post, showing “goodwill” might be a good business decision. I would not expect to be completely whole , but a partial FCC would go a long way. They should look at all options to attract past passengers.

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43 minutes ago, Nymich said:

I wonder if they will be refunding all the money people lost from the old Crystal.

JMO, but I am sure that would not be possible but let's see what the approach will be. 

 

Keith

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19 minutes ago, Orator said:

The new owners are under no obligation, but as I’ve said in another post, showing “goodwill” might be a good business decision. I would not expect to be completely whole , but a partial FCC would go a long way. They should look at all options to attract past passengers.

I agree any goodwill would be great.

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"The two ships will resume service in 2023 after undergoing extensive refurbishment and will operate under the award-winning "Crystal Cruises" brand" 

 

I can't wait to see the ships after the refurbishment.  New furnishings will really change the ships.  Yes the cabins are smaller than other "luxury" lines but they are adequate.  When we sail on river cruises we expect smaller cabins and don't complain.  

 

The most interesting refurbishments will be in the common areas including the restaurants.  What changes are going to be made  to the specialty restaurants, etc?

 

Can't wait!!!!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Nymich said:

I wonder if they will be refunding all the money people lost from the old Crystal.

Only way I would go back

i have found great alternatives along with my travel friends
I am happy for those who were hoping for a good outcome and who did not lose mega amounts of money

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1 hour ago, Orator said:

The new owners are under no obligation, but as I’ve said in another post, showing “goodwill” might be a good business decision. I would not expect to be completely whole , but a partial FCC would go a long way. They should look at all options to attract past passengers.

I have no actual basis for this, just speculation, but I would think that there will be some sort of FCC or a similar "compensation" offered to those who have deposits/payments.   We used A&K years ago for a Safari - they do a great job.  Expect the same here.  

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9 minutes ago, bitob said:

Only way I would go back

I am happy for those who were hoping for a good outcome and who did not lose mega amounts of money

 

The sting of significant lost deposits continues to leaves a sour taste. We will see how this gets addressed, if at all. The liquidation process and distribution of assets, as they may be, remains ongoing.

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4 hours ago, travelberlin said:

Mmm 🤔 interesting. I am not sure how I feel about this…Crystal died leaving hundreds if not thousands of creditors and now Crystal has raised from its grave without debts? Somehow it does not feel right. 
 

I mean, if I buy a house who has a mortgage on it, I do not have to pay the mortgage? How is this possible?

 

A small recapitulation:

 

1) Crystal ceased operations without filing for bankruptcy 

2) Crystal appointed assignees for liquidation

3) It turned out to be that Crystal did not own anything and the assignees will most likely not be able to pay creditors

4) Crystal name and ships and data basis goes on sale (on that basis data no mention of creditors?)

5) A most experienced and recognized group of people buy Crystal name and ships and data basis and will start sailing again under the name Crystal. 
6) This is the same Crystal but free of debt and with new owners.

 

Why am I feeling like a fool 🤔

 

Ivi

 

 

 

If you buy someone else's house, you do NOT owe the debts that the previous owner acquired on the house. The previous owner pays off all debts. Same here. 

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2 minutes ago, AtA said:

If you buy someone else's house, you do NOT owe the debts that the previous owner acquired on the house. The previous owner pays off all debts. Same here. 

I only wish the previous owner paid off all the debts.

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2 minutes ago, hypercafe said:

I only wish the previous owner paid off all the debts.

Don't we all. I'll be happy if they give a bit of FCC to those who were stung badly and also if they continue to count our previous cruises for the "perks".

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