A&K Travel Group Ltd., the travel company that operates luxury touring operator Abercrombie & Kent, which is owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage (the holding company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, former head of Silversea), has acquired the Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, the company has revealed.
The two ships will resume service in 2023 after undergoing extensive refurbishment and will operate under the “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 Ltd., 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.”
“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 Ltd., who commented: “My return to luxury cruising after five years brings back so many emotions. It is an immense privilege to serve these two incredible brands that in the past decades have disrupted the travel industry numerous times. Manfredi, Geoffrey and I look forward to welcoming past Crystal and Abercrombie & Kent guests onboard, as well as those seeking rewarding luxury experiences.”
“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!”
Following this announcement on 22JUN came word 23JUN that A&K Travel Group Ltd. has also offered a Florida court involved in Crystal Cruises' bankruptcy administration USD $13 million to purchase the Crystal Cruises brand, web site and social media assets, and crucially, its customer list as part of its plan to resume operations under the Crystal Cruises name. No confirmation by time of press 24JUN whether that offer had been accepted.