The Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony cruise vessels have been acquired by A&K Travel Group, the company owned by Abercrombie and Kent CEO Geoffrey Kent, and Heritage, the holding company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio.
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,” said Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Co-Chairman of A&K Travel Group, Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent. “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.”
The two ships were on the market after Crystal, operated by Genting Hong Kong, suspended operations in January and shut down in February, ending a world cruise on Crystal Serenity after just two weeks in January. Both ships were seized by authorities in The Bahamas in early February for unpaid fuel bills of more than $4 million.
“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,” added Geoffrey Kent, Co-Chairman of A&K Travel Group Ltd. and Crystal Cruises, and Founder, Co-Chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent. “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.”
Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent will report to Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group, who commented: “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. Manfredi, Geoffrey and I look forward to welcoming past Crystal and Abercrombie & Kent guests onboard, as well as those seeking rewarding luxury experiences.”
A&K Travel Group Ltd. has partnered with cruise ship manager V.Ships Leisure, based in Monaco.
Photo source: Crystal Cruises