A&K Travel Group, a pioneering travel company owned by Geoffrey Kent and Heritage (the industrial holding company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio), said it has acquired the luxury cruise vessels Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.
The two ships will resume service in 2023 after undergoing extensive refurbishment and will operate under the award-winning 'Crystal Cruises' brand that has also been acquired by A&K Travel Group.
"I am thrilled to start this new chapter and to be back in an industry that has always had, and always will have a special place in my heart," remarked Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the Co-Chairman of A&K Travel Group, Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent.
"Thirty-five years ago, my family acquired control of Sitmar Cruises, building three of the first purpose-built cruise ships, and 30 years ago my family pioneered a new way of cruising," stated Lefebvre d’Ovidio.
"Our goal was to deliver the best experience, pampering guests from all over the world with around-the-clock butler service and extraordinary culinary experiences," he stated.
Lefebvre d’Ovidio admitted that selling the cruise business that belonged to his family for a quarter of a century was a difficult decision, "as I knew I would miss this industry immensely."
"Therefore, when the opportunity arose to acquire Crystal Cruises, I did not think about it twice. Having next to me my incredible friend and inspiring leader Geoffrey Kent makes this venture even more enjoyable," he added.
Geoffrey Kent, the Co-Chairman of A&K Travel Group and Crystal Cruises, and Founder, Co-Chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent, said: "Even though it seems like yesterday, 30 years have passed since the Lefebvre family and I had our first ship together...Manfredi and I have been best friends and business associates ever since."
"The idea of combining the unparalleled onboard service that Crystal Cruises is known for, with the extraordinary tailor-made experiences Abercrombie & Kent has been successfully providing for our guests for the past 60 years, fills me with excitement, enthusiasm and pride," he added.
Under the new arrangement, Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent will report to Cristina Levis, CEO of A&K Travel Group.
"My return to luxury cruising after five years brings back so many emotions. It is an immense privilege to serve these two incredible brands that in the past decades have disrupted the travel industry numerous times," stated Levis.
"Manfredi, Geoffrey and I look forward to welcoming past Crystal and Abercrombie & Kent guests onboard, as well as those seeking rewarding luxury experiences," he added.
A&K Travel Group has partnered with V.Ships Leisure, the world’s leading cruise ship manager, based in Monaco. With their unique experience, global scale and passionate team, V.Ships Leisure was the natural choice.
For the deal, Global law firm Paul Hastings acted as legal advisor for A&K Travel Group led by London M&A partner Matthew Poxon, working with London Finance partners David Ereira and Peter Hayes, and New York Finance partner John Storz. Associates Elizabeth Athanassios, Dante Adams, Rohin Gosh Dastidar and Cole Harlan were also part of the legal team.
Callenders Law acted for A&K Travel Group in respect of Bahamian law, while HFW and Stephenson Harwood provided maritime law expertise. CMC Capital, Limited advised A&K Travel Group in the acquisition.-TradeArabia News Service