Avoiding a seizure last week in Miami, this cruise line makes another unplanned trip to the Bahamas
A second ship operated by Crystal Cruises, a struggling luxury line, had to have an unplanned diversion to the Bahamas. It was because the company continues to face fallout for an alleged $4.6 million of fuel bills remaining unpaid.
Despite surrendering to a seizure in response to an arrest warrant issued by the Federal Judge, the Crystal Symphony went past Miami for Bimini last week. Crystal Serenity, after being turned down from Aruba, where it had to end its voyage, arrived in Bimini on Monday. As per the statement of Crystal Cruises, the port denial from Aruba came as a surprise.
“Crystal Serenity was licensed to arrive in Aruba on Friday. All services had been paid for in advance. Even though there were no substantial claims made against the vessel, the local officials denied permission to the Crystal Serenity to dock in Aruba as scheduled” Vance Gulliksen, Crystal’s spokesman, stated.
It was the latest misfortune for the cruise line, which had declared a month before that it was terminating its ocean cruises through the end of April after its parent company Genting Hong Kong signed up on Jan. 18 to liquidate the company.
The very next day Crystal Cruises got another blow from Peninsula Petroleum. It indicted the cruise line and a sister company in the U.S District Court of Southern Florida for allegedly defaulting on fuel payments. Its allegations were simple, the cruise hadn’t cleared its debt and diverted 700 people to the Bahamas to evade capture.
On Jan 17, Crystal Serenity left Miami for the first 116 days world cruise. Gulliksen informed that the initial part of the journey was planned to end Sunday in Aruba and that the management team of the company spent hours giving futile attempts to get the consent to dock on Friday. Instead, the ship made for Bimini. There the passengers were sent to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on a ferry. Hotel charges and reimbursements for the airline change fees were borne by the company.
The company expressed huge regret and disappointment in its statement.
For, Steven Shulem, the travel advisor, the cancellation of the world cruise wasn’t new. In March 2020, he was a couple of months into a world voyage on this ship when the cruise ended before time in Australia. Shulem, 60, who was already living a nomadic life, had to stay for a year and a half.
Shulem was aware that Crystal wasn’t solid financially, but he thought it needed the proceeds from the cruise trip too much to cancel it. He was going to sail the entire 116 days of this new year and several of his clients were also on board. There were also 100 others who were being hosted by him as a part of his affiliations with a travel agent network.
Currently in Anguilla, in an interview, Shulem said that passengers on the ship were apprised via email on day three of their journey that it will end early in Aruba. The ships skipped various ports and on steering clear of Jamaica, the captain told the passengers that it was because they owe them too much money. On interrogation, the Crystal Cruise negated making any such claims.
While the travelers struggled to make arrangements to get home, Shulem worked to move the passengers onto another luxury line ship that would be in Aruba at the same time. Unfortunately, Aruba wasn’t accepting their ship.
“My clients spent over $100,000 on this world cruise and this is what they had to go through”, said Shulem. He also described the chaotic incident where the ferry from Bimini to Lauderdale. Their luggage was all piled up messily and the hotel arrangements were disordered.
Gulliksen admitted that there were ‘challenges’ when the ferry arrived. “We take enormous pride in providing six-star services to our guests until they arrive home. The situation undeniably wasn’t of that high standard” he accepted. “These unfortunate circumstances were because of a number of factors, a lot of which wasn’t in our control. Nonetheless, the guests did not have the experience they expected, and that undoubtedly falls on us.”
Still, Shulem claims that the attitude and hope on board were that everyone would come back again for the next year’s world cruise. He had already booked it. “You have never seen brand loyalty like that of with the Crystal,” he said. “We’re all expecting their return.”
Crystal Endeavor, another smaller, expedition-focused, company’s ship remains at sea. Its Antarctica cruise is arranged to end Friday in Ushuaia, Argentina.