ONE chapter of the Crystal Cruises saga is over, and another has begun, with Abercrombie & Kent recently purchasing the brand at auction.
The sale saw A&K scoop up the Crystal “brand”, and its former ships Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, for just under USD$150 million. Both ships will undergo a refurbishment ahead of a relaunch next year, with the purchase hailed by recently installed A&K local Managing Director Deb Fox.
“This further investment and expansion by A&K in delivering exceptional guest experiences is more outstanding news for both our trade partners and guests,” she said.
A&K Travel Group co-Chair Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, whose family founded Silversea Cruises before selling it to Royal Caribbean Group in two tranches in 2018 and 2020, said he was thrilled to return to the sector through the company’s new purchase. “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,” he 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, who co-Chairs A&K Travel Group alongside d’Ovidio, said he sees great potential in once-defunct Crystal under his company’s ownership. “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,” he said.
As an A&K Travel Group brand, Crystal Cruises will report to Cristina Levis, the company’s new Chief Executive Officer, who previously worked for Manfredi as Silversea Expeditions Managing Director. “It is an immense privilege to serve these two incredible brands that in the past decades have disrupted the travel industry numerous times,” she said.