Travel advisors take a wait-and-see approach after A&K Travel Group buys Crystal brand: Travel Weekly


Crystal Cruises will be revived by Abercrombie & Kent Travel Team following calendar year, but what that means for travel advisors with unpaid commissions and shoppers keeping upcoming cruise credits is not known. 

A&K Journey Team will get in excess of the Crystal brand and its two luxurious cruise ships, the Crystal Serenity and the Crystal Symphony. 

The ships, which had been procured for a documented merged $128 million, are anticipated to resume services underneath the Crystal Cruises name subsequent 12 months after going through extensive refurbishment. 

A&K Journey had been recognized to be a suitor of the Crystal ships. Its homeowners contain Heritage Team, whose chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio experienced publicly expressed interest in Crystal following the windup of the line’s previous parent organization, Genting Hong Kong. 

“I am thrilled to start this new chapter and to be back again in an business that has constantly experienced, and normally will have, a special put in my heart,” said Lefebvre, whose household established Silversea Cruises. “When the prospect arose to get Crystal Cruises, I did not assume about it 2 times.” 

Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group, will oversee both equally Abercrombie & Kent and Crystal Cruises. In a statement, she named the acquisition “extremely complicated, but the pleasure of getting this jewel in our household is the finest payoff for all the really hard do the job and endeavours of the A&K crew.” 

A&K, which specializes in personal and smaller-team tours and luxury vacations, presents personal jet constitution tours, chartered river and tiny-ship cruising as nicely as chartered expedition cruises. 

The destiny of Crystal’s expedition ship is not crystal clear but. Experiences suggest it has been offered to Silversea. Levis reported that A&K was not fascinated in Crystal’s river ships.

Unpaid commissions and purchasers with FCCs

What the offer suggests for journey advisors with unpaid commissions and consumers keeping long term cruise credits (FCCs) is still unidentified. 

Levis did not reply to a ask for for facts on June 22 on how the organization strategies to tactic customers and journey agents who dropped commissions and credits just after Crystal’s February collapse. 

Signature Travel Network CEO Alex Sharpe mentioned A&K and Lefebvre are very well positioned to rekindle the manufacturer but that there are “even bigger fences to mend” with brokers and company around those people lost commissions and perhaps worthless FCCs. 

“To certainly resurrect this model, it will consider a large amount of function on all fronts in purchase for us to toss our endorsement and guidance guiding the ‘new Crystal,’ but I am absolutely wanting forward to those people discussions with our old industry friend,” Sharpe claimed of Lefebvre.

Dallas-dependent luxurious agent Dennis Nienkerk mentioned he personally dropped a $7,000 FCC and uncertainties he’ll get it back. Crystal benefits from immense shopper loyalty, he mentioned, but he explained he thinks the more mature Crystal ships — the Symphony was crafted in 1995 and the Serenity in 2003 — will have to contend in the higher-high quality phase with Oceania and Azamara alternatively than in the luxury sector against more recent tonnage at Seabourn, Silversea and Regent 7 Seas Cruises. 

“If A&K can replicate Crystal standards and I listen to excellent responses from cruisers, I will industry them, but I am not going to make any exclusive efforts since there’s so much else out there that is better,” explained Nienkerk.

Can they get the crew again?

Tom Baker, president of CruiseCenter in Houston and a leading producer for both A&K and Crystal, termed the partnership “breathtaking.” 

“I could not imagine of a improved alliance,” he claimed, incorporating that A&K’s ground belongings in virtually 100 nations will permit it to provide significant-excellent excursions and exclusive land activities. 

He added that he is in a “wait-and-see method” as to whether he’ll aid the new Crystal. “I want to see what the learn prepare is and what they notify us they’re likely to do, and I’m going to enjoy the deliverables.”

Issues continue to be, he mentioned, as to no matter whether new owners can supply the Crystal solution. 

“The ships are pretty,” he reported. “They’re going to refurbish them and likely do some genuinely amazing issues. Will they be equipped to get the crew again in place? The leisure, which was the most effective in the business? If they can get the entertainment and the proper crew customers back again, they are going to have a profitable mixture.” 

The fascination of Baker’s Crystal customers is already piqued. 

“This morning, I experienced clients crafting to me, some of them experienced a several choice text and claimed, ‘I’m not touching it until I get my 100 grand back,’ and then a few other men and women wrote to me and claimed as soon as they have the voyages permit me know, I am ready to go.”

One particular sector advisor predicted A&K won’t try to honor commissions, deposits or FCCs. 

“They experienced nothing to do with Crystal and what occurred,” said Anthony Kaufman, a cruise line guide who has worked for Carnival Corp. “Manfredi is nicely-revered and forward-on the lookout. Even so, for very good business explanations, they will want to retain anyone joyful and may well give some sort of incentives to previous Crystal clients, and I am absolutely sure they will goal them in other strategies to get them back.”

Nicole Edenedo and Johanna Jainchill contributed to this report.

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