Cruise horror: Luxury ships seized -hundreds of elderly travellers left in ‘freezing’ cold

Jane McDonald takes an American cruise around Alaska

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The Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity cruise ships were commandeered by officials at the weekend, leaving passengers, some elderly, in the “freezing” cold for hours.

The ships – owned by Crystal Cruises – were taken after a fuel supplier had reported that they had failed to settle a lofty unpaid bill.

Both luxury liners are currently docked in the Bahamas after getting the passengers off-board.

The Crystal Serenity was on a world cruise trip and after being turned away from Aruba, is now docked in the Bahamas.

Its sister ship, also currently in the Bahamas, was due to return to Florida from a two-week Caribbean cruise, but was diverted to Bimini in the Bahamas after a judge issued an arrest warrant for the vessel.

Passengers were left waiting in the “freezing” cold for hours after disembarking the Crystal cruises and before being ferried to Fort Lauderdalein Florida .

Photographer Daniel Dreifuss tweeted Crystal Cruises left “hundreds of travelers in the cold, in long lines, no reps no help for the older passengers including my grandparents.

“They were stuck in the freezing cold for over two hours! And then another 3 hours between the ferry and bus line.”

The fuel company Peninsula Petroleum Far East filed a report against Crystal Cruises last month over outstanding bills. As a result, an arrest warrant was issued by a federal district court judge in Miami.

The order means that once the vessels approach the coast of America, US marshals can get onboard and seize the ship.

Since the order was passed, both ships have stayed out of US ports.

Elio Pace, a musician who has frequently toured with Crystal Symphony since 2013, said he thought: “Are you actually kidding me? This is a joke, right?”

He was among the many passengers who were ferried to Fort Lauderdale in Florida, on Sunday.

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He said: “It was two hours I never want to live through again”.

The incident has left many speculating on social media about the company’s possible demise, with travel writer Jean Newman Glock tweeting “Crystal Cruises’ shutdown appears imminent”.

Crystal Cruises are now said to be letting go of nearly all remaining employees as the company’s creditors are believed to be taking possession of the ships, Seatrade reports.

A Crystal Cruises spokesperson said the company “were unable to comment on pending legal matters at this time”.

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