US cruise ship alters course to Bahamas to avoid arrest warrant

'Crystal Symphony' was due to dock in Florida before US judge granted order to seize vessel

The ‘Crystal Symphony’ was scheduled to dock in Miami on Saturday but was diverted to the Bahamas after a US  judge granted an order to seize the vessel. AP

A cruise ship scheduled to dock in Miami after a two-week Caribbean cruise changed its course for the Bahamas after a US judge granted an arrest warrant over a reported unpaid $4 million fuel bill.

The Crystal Symphony was due to anchor in Florida on Saturday but headed for the Bahamas with hundreds of passengers and crew members on board.

It remained docked in the island of Bimini on Monday morning, cruise-tracking websites show.

It was not immediately clear how many passengers were aboard, with one news outlet estimating 300 and another 700, AP reported. The ship can carry up to 848 passengers, the company website says.

About 300 people were taken by ferry to Port Everglades in Florida, a spokesman for Crystal Cruises told The New York Times.

“This end to the cruise was not the conclusion to our guests’ vacation we originally planned for,” the cruise line said.

Musician Elio Pace said in a post on Facebook he was due to perform on board.

He said he boarded the Crystal Symphony on Tuesday in Dominica but was told a day later the company that owns Crystal Cruises had gone into liquidation.

“As much as this is a logistical headache for me personally, I’m OK,” he wrote in the post. “However, the people I feel really bad for are the brilliant, beautiful and wonderful loyal staff and crew aboard this ship for whom the Crystal Symphony is their livelihood. I wish all of these friends of mine and this beautiful ship the very best for what lies ahead on the very uncertain horizon over the coming weeks and months.

So, I boarded Crystal Symphony on Tuesday in Dominica. The plan was that I would be on the ship until 23 February and...

Posted by Elio Pace on Saturday, January 22, 2022

Another passenger, Steven Fales, told The New York Times: “It’s just sad to see the pandemic kill it like it’s a Broadway show that opened too soon.

“That crew treated us like royalty through the tears of losing their jobs. They’re all just heart-broken and it was just devastating.”

Updated: January 24, 2022, 9:03 AM