Industry legends, Geoffrey Kent and Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio have acquired the Crystal Cruises brand and two of the collapsed line’s luxury liners.
Under the A&K Travel Group brand, Kent, who founded Abercrombie & Kent and Lefebvre d’Ovidio, previous owner and current chairperson of Silversea, revealed their plans to return Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony to service in 2023 following an “extensive refurbishment”.
The two ships will operate under the Crystal Cruises brand which was also acquired by A&K Travel Group.
The acquisition marks Lefebvre d’Ovidio’s return to the cruise industry following the sale of Silversea, a luxury line founded by his father, to Royal Caribbean in 2018.
“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,” Lefebvre d’Ovidio said.
“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.”
Kent said the ships will combine the “unparalleled” onboard service that Crystal Cruises is known for, with the tailor-made experiences Abercrombie & Kent has been providing for the past 60 years.
“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,” he added.
Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent will report to Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group.
“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. Ad maiora Crystal Cruises!” Levis commented.
A&K Travel Group Ltd. has partnered with V.Ships Leisure, a leading cruise ship manager, based in Monaco.
Crystal Cruises collapsed earlier this year after its parent company, Genting Hong Kong, ran out of cash due to the insolvency of its German shipbuilding subsidiary MV Werften.
Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity made headlines in February after both made unplanned detours to the Bahamas.
Crystal Symphony, which was set to wrap up its Caribbean voyage in Miami just days after the line suspended operations, fled to the Bahamas after a US judge granted an order to seize the vessel as part of a lawsuit over unpaid fuel.
A few weeks later, Crystal Serenity also headed to the Bahamas after it was denied port entry in Aruba.
In both instances, passengers were taken by ferry to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
Featured image: Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio and Geoffrey Kent (Youtube/Abercrombie & Kent USA)