The new Crystal Cruises is offering credit to former passengers who lost money after the luxury line shut down under the previous ownership of Genting Hong Kong.
When the line shut down last year, more than USD$100 million ($150 million AUD) was still owed to cruisers and travel agents.
Purchased by luxury touring group, Abercrombie & Kent, the company is set to re-launch the two flagship vessels where former guests stung by the previous owner, will be able to use their outstanding balances.
The line has created a new plan where past guests can apply to use their outstanding amount on a future cruise on the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity.
Called the “Exceptional Initiative”, the credit will be split into five equal installments, and passengers who receive them must use the first of those by July 1. They can use the credit for sailings departing on or prior to Dec. 31, 2025, and retroactively apply them to existing bookings.
For example, if you spent $10,000 on a cruise, then you could get $2000 off five cruises in the future.
That means to get full value from your credits you’d need to cruise five times with Crystal in under three years.
Guests also “must have filed a claim with Moecker & Associates represented by the Assignee Mark C. Healy in the Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors process,” according to the initiative’s terms and conditions.
Alternatively, credits can be spent not on separate itineraries, but on separate cabins throughout the same voyage.
Cristian Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group told Bloomberg: “I don’t have memory in the industry of anyone who has ever taken over liabilities of a former owner without really knowing the extent of the liabilities.”
“Crystal passengers have mistakenly been asking us to refund their money because they were under the impression that in acquiring the ships and acquiring the brand, we also acquired the bank accounts and all that goes with it.
“Never did we come in contact with the customer money of the former Crystal. We have no visibility of the bank accounts or anything.”
Jack Ross, a long-term Crystal cruiser told Bloomberg: “Half the people say it’s a different owner and let’s give them a try because we love Crystal.
“Other people say screw them, Crystal took my money and I am not booking anyone with that name.”
Mr Ross is owed more than $2000 from the old crystal, and despite already booking with the new Crystal, will still be able to retroactively apply his 20% discount.