Paul Hastings and Callanders Law assist A&K Travel Group acquire two luxury cruise ships

HFW and Stephenson Harwood provide maritime law expertise on the transaction

A&K Travel Group Ltd. has acquired the luxury cruise vessels Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony in an asset purchase. The two ships will resume service in 2023 after undergoing extensive refurbishment and will operate under the “Crystal Cruises” brand that  A&K Travel also acquired. A&K Travel is owned by luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent founder Geoffrey Kent and Heritage, the industrial holding company chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio. The Symphony entered the service in 1995, while its sister ship, the Serenity, entered service in 2003.

“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. Thirty-five years ago, my family acquired control of Sitmar Cruises, building three of the first purpose-built cruise ships, and thirty years ago my family pioneered a new way of cruising. 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. Selling the cruise business that belonged to my 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,” said Lefebvre d’Ovidio, who is co-chairman of A&K Travel, Crystal Cruises and Abercrombie & Kent.

"Even though it seems like yesterday, thirty 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 sixty years, fills me with excitement, enthusiasm and pride," added Kent, who serves as co-chairman of A&K Travel and Crystal Cruises, and is Abercrombie & Kent's founder, co-chairman and CEO.

Global law firm Paul Hastings acted for A&K Travel, 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 on Bahamian law, while HFW and Stephenson Harwood LLP provided maritime law expertise.

CMC Capital, Limited advised A&K Travel Group in the acquisition.  

In January, Genting Hong Kong, which ran Star Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Dream Cruises and German shipbuilding subsidiary MV Werften, filed for bankruptcy protection with an assignment for the benefit of creditors, an insolvency proceeding governed by Florida Statutes Chapter 727. The proceeding is being overseen by Florida 11th Circuit Court Judge Alan Fine.


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