Last updated: 09:46 AM ET, Tue March 03 2015

NYK Selling Crystal Cruises to Genting Hong Kong

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Crystal Cruises | Theresa Norton | March 03, 2015

NYK Selling Crystal Cruises to Genting Hong Kong

PHOTO: The Crystal Symphony, one of two luxury ships in the Crystal Cruises fleet. (Courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

Crystal Cruises is being sold to Genting Hong Kong, the owner of Star Cruises and part owner of Norwegian Cruise Line, for $550 million in cash.

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Crystal’s Japanese parent company since its inception in 1988, said the sale is expected to close in the second quarter.

GHK said it will build a new ship for Crystal, “elevating the standard of luxury cruising and luxury cruise ships” and “exceed all current and on-order luxury offerings in the global cruise industry,” according to a press release.

Crystal currently operates two ships, the 922-passenger Crystal Symphony and 1,070-guest Crystal Serenity.

“Crystal Cruises offers the epitome of luxury cruising and the service standard which all other cruise lines aspire to,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman, CEO and acting president of GHK. “The current management team and crew will continue to lead Crystal Cruises.

That includes Crystal President and COO Edie Rodriguez, who has shared her goal of “seven ships for seven continents” since she took the helm in late 2013.

Established in 1993, GHK is part of the Genting Group, a global hospitality and leisure company with business in over 20 countries, including the U.S. in New York, Florida and Nevada. GHK wholly owns Star Cruises, Asia’s major cruise line, and is a major shareholder of Norwegian Cruise Line. It is a public company primarily listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and secondarily on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

“After 25 successful years with NYK, we are excited to have Genting Hong Kong as the new owner of Crystal Cruises,” Rodriguez said. “The proposed expansion of our fleet will present our loyal Crystal Society members and new luxury cruise guests with more itinerary options, accommodation choices and exceptional vacation experiences, as we continue to position Crystal as the innovative leader in global luxury cruising. Additionally, Crystal’s veteran leadership, management and crew will continue to focus on our award-winning guest service and our strong partnership with the travel agent community, which now has a greater opportunity to grow their business with a larger menu of Crystal product offerings.”

Crystal’s two ships have about 1,992 lower berths and the consideration has been determined on a cash-free and debt-free basis, translating into an enterprise value to lower berth ratio of approximately $276,000.  

Crystal consistently garners accolades with ships that regularly undergo renovations to keep them fresh and up-to-date. The Crystal Symphony was built in 1995, and the Crystal Serenity in 2003.

The sale comes as its luxury competitors operate newer tonnage. Seabourn has three Odyssey-class ships built from 2009 through 2011 and has ordered two slightly larger vessels, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation, for delivery in late 2016 and 2018, respectively. Regent Seven Seas Cruises has started construction on what it calls “the most luxurious ship ever built,” Seven Seas Explorer, expected to enter service in July 2016.

Crystal has won “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards for 21 years and was voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel+Leisure readers for 19 consecutive years.

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