FMC Advises Crystal Passengers on Potential Refunds

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has issued a statement regarding potential refunds for Crystal Cruises passengers.

The FMC requires cruise lines to have a bond or other financial surety available to refund passenger deposits in the event of nonperformance or for death or injury on a voyage.

This requirement applies to cruise lines that embark from a U.S. port and have at least 50 berth accommodations, according to the agency.

With Crystal filing a petition for Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors in Florida state court in Miami-Dade County  on February 11, the FMC confirmed last week that the company does maintain an escrow account in compliance with FMC regulations for the purpose of refunding applicable passenger fares and deposits for cruises departing from a U.S. port in the event the cruise line fails to perform the cruise.

“The escrow account does not provide reimbursement for payments for air travel, shore-side hotel expenses, or other expenses that do not constitute water transportation or its related services,” the FMC said.

“An escrow claims process has yet to be established by Crystal’s assignee (liquidator) and its escrow agent. There is no mandated deadline for the assignee and escrow agent to initiate the claims process or when refunds will be disbursed from escrow to eligible passengers. The Federal Maritime Commission has no role in establishing the escrow claims process. Once the Commission is advised of the claims process, it will issue an updated advisory notice.”

The FMC advised consumers to place  claim with their credit card issuers if necessary, and if they have third-party travel insurance, to place a claim with the insurer.

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