Cruise liner Crystal Symphony in St. Peter Port harbor.


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If you've been planning to set sail on a Crystal Cruise, here's hoping you didn't put down any money to fulfill that dream. 

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The luxury cruise line, which has abruptly collapsed, owes $100 million to customers who booked cruises scheduled up to 2024. For many, getting that deposit money back could be tricky. While most customers paid via credit card, making refunds a little easier, anyone who paid in cash or paid fully for a 2020 or 2021 cruise that was canceled, then rebooked for a future date may be out of luck, since the company's cruise credits are now worthless. 

Would-be cruisers aren't the only ones left high and dry. Travel agents hoping for their 10% to 16% commissions are going to face an uphill battle getting paid. Plus, Crystal's employees may have it worst of all. The roughly 100 people who worked in the company's U.S. offices were given just 48 hours notice before offices were shut down and their paychecks cut off. Crew members who worked on the Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity are stuck on the ships, which are anchored in the Bahamas and were seized for unpaid fuel bills. 

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While computers, office furniture, and some bonds belonged to Crystal, even the ships were loaners — they were secured assets of preferred creditors. Genting Hong Kong, which owned Crystal, effectively dumped the company when it applied for liquidation on Jan. 19, leaving Crystal with "a bank account of zero," according to former Crystal Cruises president Jack Anderson.

For the time being, the Crystal Cruises website is still up — and says only that future cruises are "on pause." But don't count on setting sail anytime soon, if ever.

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