A leading cruise industry analyst says investment groups will be interested in acquiring Crystal Cruises’ ocean vessels as part of a “fire sale”.
Tony Peisley “fully expects” Crystal’s ocean ships to continue operating once the current pause ends on April 29.
Operations were suspended after Crystal parent Genting Hong Kong filed to be wound up when its German shipbuilding arm became insolvent due to the pandemic.
In a filing to the Supreme Court of Bermuda, Genting warned it may run out of cash by the end of this month.
Peisley highlighted the purchase of Azamara by private equity firm Sycamore Partners in 2021 as an example of what the future could hold for Crystal.
“I think it would be an investment group that keeps it running as it is,” said Peisley, who consults for New York-based Coleman Research, a firm which facilitates discussions between business clients and qualified advisors.
“It could be Sycamore, but it might be too soon for them. Crystal is already up and running and is a very popular brand.
“Crystal has kept the crew and offices all over the world and you could run it the next day if you take on the existing staff. That’s what I think would be the favourite in this situation.”
Peisley said the opportunity to buy a line like Crystal “does not come along very often”, adding: “There will be people looking at it. It’s not the cruise line that has gone bust, it’s the parent company.”
He believes Crystal’s reputation with the trade had remained intact despite provisional liquidators being appointed to run its parent.
But he thinks any future owner would “have to replace the older ships”.
“You would have to factor that in, find some slots in a shipyard and build some new ships,” he said. “You would have to cost that in. It’s a fire sale.”
Crystal’s fleet includes Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony (pictured) and new expedition ship Crystal Endeavor, which launched last year before visiting London.