The Crystal Serenity is headed to the Bahamas, where it is flagged, after authorities in Aruba denied the ship from docking.
Photo Credit: Crystal Cruises
Jay Shapiro decided to fly to meet his Crystal clients in Aruba and then escort them to the Mariner. Then their, and his, plans changed.
Crystal had previously said that the Serenity, which had started a world cruise earlier this month, would disembark all passengers in Aruba. Parent company Genting Hong Kong filed to wind up its operations earlier this month, leading to Crystal's suspension of operations for its ocean ships through April 29.
But the line said in a statement Saturday that "Although Crystal Serenity was cleared to arrive in Aruba today with all services paid for in advance, and even though there are no reasonable risks or claims made against the vessel, local officials informed the company late Friday afternoon that the ship will be not permitted to dock in Aruba as scheduled. After receiving this unfortunate news, Crystal's management team spent hours conferring with Aruba officials toward a positive resolution -- with even our humanitarian pleas falling on deaf ears -- to no avail."
As a result, Crystal said the Serenity "is now forced to conclude its voyage in Bimini on Monday, Jan. 31, where guests will be transferred to Port Everglades via the Balearia fast-ferry service. Guests will be transferred to an area hotel where overnight accommodations will be provided by Crystal, and the company will reimburse guests for any applicable airline change fees.
"All of our attention is now focused on taking care of our guests and returning them home or to their next destination. There are simply no words to express our deep regret and disappointment."
Regent alters its offerings for Crystal passengers
Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which had planned to embark many Crystal
Serenity passengers onto the Seven Seas Mariner in Aruba, said Saturday that it
instead arranged for passengers to either fly from the Bahamas to
Barbados to meet the Mariner, and will pay for the passengers' airfare,
or to join cruises on the Seven Seas Splendor or the Seven Seas
Explorer, which are departing from Miami Feb. 3 and Feb. 4,
The Crystal Symphony, which had been sailing the Caribbean when Genting Hong Kong made its announcement, also ended its cruise in the Bahamas due to a warrant being issued by a federal court in Miami for the ship after a fuel provider sued Crystal for more than $2 million in unpaid fuel bills.
The Symphony's passengers were returned to Florida via ferry from Bimini. Malaysia-based Genting Group, the conglomerate of which Genting Hong Kong is an independent subsidiary, has both a resort and a marina in Bimini.