A musician onboard a luxurious cruise liner that diverted to the Bahamas to keep away from a US arrest warrant over unpaid gasoline payments says its 700 crew and passengers had been shocked to study the vessel was fleeing “like a pirate ship”.

The Crystal Symphony was attributable to dock in Florida on Saturday after a two-week Caribbean cruise, however modified course after a US decide granted an arrest warrant for the ship over a $1.2m gasoline invoice.

The 300 passengers onboard Crystal Symphony had been left scrambling to rebook onward journey preparations, whereas the ship’s 400 crew confronted an unsure future after homeowners Crystal Cruises was positioned into liquidation.

Musician Elio Tempo, who boarded the ship on Tuesday in Dominica, advised The Unbiased he had simply completed a rehearsal on Friday when when he was knowledgeable an arrest warrant had been issued for the ship underneath admiralty legislation.

“There was actually eight seconds of silence, no one might say something. It was nearly laughable… we actually simply mentioned ‘are you kidding?’

“Nobody might consider that this ship was having to divert away from US waters like a pirate ship away so it didn’t get arrested.”

Talking from onboard the cruise ship Sunday morning, Mr Tempo mentioned the passengers can be disembarking within the Bahamas round 11am EST and being positioned on a courtesy ferry to Fort Lauderdale.

He mentioned passengers had remained calm all through the ordeal, as they labored to vary their flight, lodging and automotive rental bookings.

“The passengers that come right here know what they’re doing, there’s no panic, there’s no tantrums, they’re simply getting on with it.”

Crew members who hailed from all around the world, a few of whom had labored for Crystal for 25 years, had been devastated on the prospect of dropping their jobs, he added.

“All these good stunning folks, they’re actually down within the dumps and really despondent and really unsure about what subsequent or even when they’ll receives a commission. It’s a bit brutal.

“They are often forgiven for not paying me. I really feel sorry for these guys who’ve simply misplaced their jobs simply once we thought the pandemic was over, It’s so surprising.”

Crystal Cruises’ guardian firm Genting Hong Kong mentioned this week it had “exhausted all affordable efforts” to settle thousands and thousands {dollars} excellent gasoline payments and can be ceasing operations.

On the identical time, gasoline provider Peninsula Far East filed a lawsuit in a Florida courtroom claiming it was owed $4.6m by the corporate, together with $1.2m from the Crystal Symphony.

A decide issued the arrest warrant on Thursday, and the ship change course for the Bahamas the following day.

Saying the choice to stop operations, Crystal Cruise’s president Jack Anderson mentioned in an announcement: “This was a particularly troublesome determination however a prudent one given the present enterprise atmosphere and up to date developments with our guardian firm, Genting Hong Kong,” mentioned

Mr Tempo, an award-winning musician, mentioned most passengers blamed Crystal’s guardian firm Genting Hong Kong for his or her predicament.

“All people on this ship is quietly absolute disgusted on the lack of humanity that Genting has proven in taking care of this ship, the passengers, the crew.

“On a human degree, all they wanted to seek out was $3.5 million. Why not pay the invoice. they will afford it.”

He mentioned passengers had been all carrying masks and training social distancing to cut back the chance of a Covid outbreak, which might pressure them to quarantine.

Genting Hong Kong is managed by Malaysian tycoon Lim Kok Thay, whose Genting Group is described as “certainly one of Asia’s main and best-managed multinationals” with pursuits in leisure and hospitality, plantations, property, and biotechnology.

The Covid pandemic has been particularly powerful on the cruise trade, with the the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention final month warning folks to keep away from all journey on the vessels.