Crystal Cruises has announced that it has laid off all of its 238 staff and closed its Miami office. The luxury cruise operator which has been in the news recently due to its ships being pursued by federal agents through Bahamian waters due to $4.6 million in unpaid fuel bills, revealed that top executives, managers and staff members in Miami had been laid off permanently. The news was confirmed when they filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act with Florida authorities.
“We are taking the action because we will be undertaking an assignment for the benefit of creditors, or seeking similar relief,” Crystal said in a letter last to week addressed to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
Interim president and CEO Jack Anderson said: “This was an extremely difficult decision but a prudent one given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company, Genting Hong Kong.”
Michael Moecker & Associates has been appointed by a Florida court to handle creditors’ claims, including those of passengers, travel agents, suppliers and employees.
The US Federal Maritime Commission is handling enquiries from customers claiming refunds, advising them to make a claim with their credit card issuer or via their insurer to speed up processing. The FMC’s own refund claim process only covers cruises departing from a US port. It is estimated that more than $100 million is being held by VISA, Mastercard and American Express.
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How to seek reimbursement
A notice on the FMC’s website reads:
The Federal Maritime Commission is aware of media reports that Crystal Cruises, LLC (Crystal) has ceased operations.
The Commission is receiving inquiries pertaining to obtaining refunds for voyages booked with Crystal.
For affected passengers seeking reimbursement, the Commission recommends:
- If payment was made by credit card, a claim should be placed immediately with the card issuer.
- If third-party travel insurance was obtained, a claim should be placed immediately with the insurer.
- For passengers that are unable to utilize the above methods, additional information about the claims process will be forthcoming.
Prior experience has proven that third party insurers and credit card issuers often provide quicker and fuller reimbursement to passengers than any claims process established under the financial instruments issued pursuant to Commission requirements. Additionally, any claims process established by the Commission currently limits reimbursement to only the ocean portion of the cruise fare and not any ancillary charges such as air fare, ground transportation, tours, or lodging.
For additional inquiries, please contact our offices via email at [email protected]