Crystal Cruises ship goes to the Bahamas after U.S. court orders seizure

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Crystal Symphony passengers were told on Friday that the ship would sail for Bimini, where a fast ferry would take them back to Florida.
Crystal Symphony passengers were told on Friday that the ship would sail for Bimini, where a fast ferry would take them back to Florida.

This report was updated on Sunday evening with a statement from Crystal and information that Crystal Symphony passengers traveled to Fort Lauderdale from Bimini via ferry on Sunday.
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A federal district court in Miami issued a warrant for the Crystal Symphony because of more than $2 million in unpaid fuel bills. 

The Symphony, currently on a cruise that was scheduled to end in Miami, changed course for the Bahamas instead, where Crystal's ships are flagged. 

A judge granted the arrest warrant after Singapore-based Peninsula Petroleum sued Crystal for unpaid bills for the Symphony and the Crystal Serenity. 

The warrant was issued after Crystal suspended operations of its ocean and expedition ships through April 29 after parent company Genting Hong Kong said that it would be out of cash by the end of the month and was winding up its operations.

The complaint also said that Star Cruises, an Asia-based line owned by Genting Hong Kong, owes $1.3 million in unpaid fuel bills going back to 2017. 

The Symphony had been scheduled to arrive in Miami on Saturday, Jan. 22, but passengers were told on Friday that the Bahamas-flagged ship would instead go to Bimini, where a fast ferry would take them back to Florida. 

Malaysia-based Genting Group, the conglomerate of which Genting Hong Kong is an independent subsidiary, has both a resort and a marina in Bimini

The Serenity, which started a world cruise earlier this week, is still planning to end that cruise in Aruba on Jan. 30. The Crystal Endeavor, Crystal's new expedition ship, will end its Antarctica sailing in Ushuaia, Argentina, on Feb. 4. 

The court directed U.S. marshals to "arrest the defendant vessel, her boats, tackle, apparel and furniture, engines and appurtenances, and to detain the same in your custody pending further order of the court."

An uncomfortable ferry ride to Florida

In a statement on Sunday, Crystal Cruises said that after the ship docked in Bimini on Saturday, guests spent the night onboard and were "well cared for." 

Crystal also said the ferry transfer to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale was "uncomfortable due to inclement weather."

"This end to the cruise was not the conclusion to our guests' vacation we originally planned for," Crystal said. "Crystal's guests are among the most passionate and loyal in the cruise industry, and we thank them for their patience and understanding during this challenging time."

Crystal said it arranged ground transportation for guests from Fort Lauderdale to PortMiami.

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