After a court ruled that it owed $4.6 million in unpaid fuel expenses last Thursday, the cruise ship Crystal Symphony announced to passengers over the weekend that they would not be docking in Miami as scheduled.

To avoid U.S. authorities, the ship instead docked in the Bahamas, specifically the island of Bimini, according to NBC News. However, some passengers were eventually taken to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, via ferry on Sunday.

It is unclear how many passengers were on board the vessel. Crystal says the Symphony has a capacity of about 845 passengers, but reports suggest anywhere from 300 to 700 passengers were on board at the time.

If the ship had entered U.S. waters, a U.S. Marshal would have taken control of the vessel per U.S. standards related to arrest warrants issued for specific ships. So far, Crystal Cruise has refused to comment on the lawsuit specifically, but Peninsula Petroleum Far East filed the suit in court, which ruled in its favor.

However, last Wednesday, the company released a statement announcing the suspension of the ocean, river and expedition voyages until May 2022. The company said it is refunding customers. Crystal also clarified that ongoing voyages would complete their current cycles.

Crystal_Symphony The Crystal Symphony at sea Photo: Crystal Cruises

Crystal Symphony has since completed its voyage, but two others remain: Crystal Serenity, which is set to dock in Aruba on Jan. 30; and Crystal Endeavor, which will dock in Ushuaia, Argentina, on Feb. 4.

The cruise company cited the suspension as necessary “to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward,” according to a statement.

Crystal Cruise’s president, Jack Anderson, said the decision was “a prudent one given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company, Genting Hong Kong.”

The company has also shut down its call center “until further notice,” but people can still contact company representatives via email. However, they will continue “to take new reservations for future voyages via crystalcruises.com with no money down until March 1, 2022.”

Genting Hong Kong is a holding company operating cruises and resorts headquartered in Hong Kong. Genting acquired Crystal Cruises in 2015 for $550 million.

According to Bloomberg, in August 2020, the company announced the suspension of all payments to creditors to shore up liquidity. This month it was revealed that the holding company that also owns Star Cruises and Dream Cruises would run out of cash by the end of the month.

Lim Kok Thay resigned as chairman and CEO on Monday and it is speculated that other parties interested in acquiring the company might intervene.