The two luxury ships were bought at auction with Crystal Symphony for 25 million dollars and Crystal Serenity for 103 million dollars.
Lefebvre d’Ovidio, former owner and CEO of Silversea Cruises, confirmed to Seatrade Cruise News in February that Heritage had made two fully funded offers for Crystal Cruises following their demise in the liquidation of Genting Hong Kong.
The crystal mark lives on
The two vessels will resume service in 2023 after undergoing extensive refurbishment and will operate under the Crystal Cruises brand, which has also been acquired by A&K Travel Group Ltd.
“I’m delighted to start this new chapter and be back in an industry that has always had, and will always have, a special place in my heart,” said Lefebvre d’Ovidio, co-chair of A&K Travel Group Ltd., Crystal Cruise and Abercrombie & Kent.
His family gained control of Sitmar Cruises 35 years ago, built three cruise ships, and “pioneered a new way of cruising,” he added.
‘Our goal was to deliver the best experience, pamper guests from around the world with 24-hour butler service and extraordinary culinary experiences. Selling the cruise line business that belonged to my family for a quarter of a century was a difficult decision, since I knew I would miss this industry immensely.
“Therefore, when the opportunity arose to buy Crystal Cruises, I did not think about it twice. Having my incredible friend and inspirational leader Geoffrey Kent by my side makes this venture even more fun, he said.
Co-chairman of A&K Travel Group Ltd and Crystal Cruises, and founder, co-chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent Geoffrey Kent commented: “The idea of combining the unique on-board service that Crystal Cruises is known for, with the extraordinary tailored experiences Abercrombie & Kent has succeeds in offering our guests the last 60 years, and fills me with excitement, enthusiasm and pride. ‘
Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent will report to Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group and former CEO of Silversea Expeditions, who commented: “My return to luxury cruises after five years brings back so much emotion. It is a huge privilege to serve these two incredible brands that have disrupted the travel industry several times in recent decades. Manfredi, Geoffrey and I look forward to welcoming former Crystal and Abercrombie & Kent guests on board, as well as those seeking rewarding luxury experiences. ‘
A&K Travel Group Ltd. has entered into a partnership with V.Ships Leisure for this acquisition. V.Ships Leisure served as caretaker for Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity during their arrest in the Bahamas.
The global law firm Paul Hastings LLP worked for A&K Travel Group Ltd., led by London M&A partner Matthew Poxon, in partnership with London Finance partners David Ereira and Peter Hayes, and New York Finance partner John Storz. Staff Elizabeth Athanassios, Dante Adams, Rohin Gosh Dastidar and Cole Harlan were also part of the legal team. Callenders Law worked for A&K Travel Group Ltd. with respect to Bahamian law, while HFW and Stephenson Harwood LLP provided maritime law expertise.
CMC Capital, Limited advised A&K Travel Group Ltd. in the acquisition.