Crystal Cruises ships acquired by Abercrombie & Kent owner
By Katie McGonagle | 22 Jun 2022
Abercrombie & Kent’s parent company has bought the Crystal Cruises brand and ocean cruise ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony
The A&K Travel Group, which is owned by Abercrombie & Kent founder Geoffrey Kent and holding company Heritage group, has announced the purchase of former Crystal Cruises ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.
The ships will restart sailing in 2023 following a refurbishment and will continue to operate under the Crystal Cruises brand, which has also been acquired by A&K. It comes after Crystal Cruises’ parent company, Genting Hong Kong, collapsed in January, leaving the future of the brand and its ships uncertain.
Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, co-chairman of A&K Travel Group and former owner of Silversea Cruises, said: “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.
“35 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.
“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.”
The ships were sold at auction in the Bahamas earlier this month, with reports suggested they had attracted winning bids of $25 million for Crystal Symphony and $103 million for newer vessel Crystal Serenity.
Kent, who is co-chairman of A&K Travel Group and Crystal Cruises, and founder, co-chairman and chief executive of Abercrombie & Kent, added: “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.”
The brand will be run by former Silversea Expeditions managing director Cristina Levis, who said it was an “immense privilege” to return to the luxury cruising sector.
Other ships, including polar-class vessel Crystal Endeavor and the brand’s five-strong river fleet, were not acquired as part of the deal, although unconfirmed reports have linked Silversea to a purchase of the expedition ship.