Crystal Cruises, which has long planned to launch its new Serenity with an inuagural July 7 from London -- complete with an elaborate send-off ceremony -- has announced that the ship is not ready for its first revenue cruise. In an interesting twist, Crystal, which attributes the problems to shipyard delays, has offered those passengers booked on the trip an entirely free cruise if they choose to sail -- or a full refund.
Crystal Serenity will still depart from Southampton on July 7. But the setbacks that the ship experienced in the shipyard mean that important final projects, from decorative touches to staff training, can not be made in ample time prior to the launch.
Travel agents report they´ve received a fax from Crystal noting that certain rooms on the ship, such as say the Galaxy Lounge and the Lido are still incomplete.
Crystal Serenity´s inaugural, a two-week U.K. - Baltic itinerary, returns to Southampton on July 21.