Vaccinate, suit up, and get ready to hit the high seas, baby!
It’s almost been a full year since the CDC first announced its "No Sail Order" for most ocean cruises operating in U.S. waters and ports. After months and months of extended orders, voluntary no-sails, and a bunch of cancelations, cruises have yet to make their comeback or even give a hint at when they expect to get back in the water—until now.
On March 11, 2021, Crystal Cruises announced via a joint virtual press conference with the Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism that it would restart cruising in the Americas with its newly-created "Bahamas Escapes" aboard their award-winning Crystal Serenity, the luxury liner’s flagship ship. The first sail date? July 3, 2021, from Nassau.
So, why now—and why the Bahamas?
“We can offer these cruises with mutual confidence, thanks to the meticulous planning and health and safety protocols that both Crystal Cruises and The Bahamas have put in place, which Crystal Cruises’ sister cruise line, Dream Cruises, has successfully implemented in Taiwan and Singapore for over seven months with no incidents on board,” said Jack Anderson, interim president and CEO of Crystal Cruises. “The all-Bahamas itineraries allow us to sail without risk of border closures, and our North American guests to sail as close to home as possible.”
In total, Crystal’s cruise comeback includes 32 seven-night sailings, half from Nassau and half from Bimini—all sporting Bahamas-only itineraries. Sailing round trip from either Nassau or Bimini, itineraries also stop at four other Bahamian ports of call—Harbour Island, Grand Exuma, San Salvador Island, and Long Island—and highlight the islands’ ecotourism, beautiful beaches, underwater life, and classic local activities like scuba diving and fishing.
“Crystal Cruises will go on record as the only cruise line offering Bahamas-only voyages that highlight the signature features and experiences travelers can find here in our islands,” the Honorable Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism & Aviation for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, said during the press conference. “And the support that these cruises will bring to multiple communities within the country will be tremendous.” It’s worth noting that Crystal Serenity will become the first ship to homeport in the Bahamas.
“Travelers’ sense of exploration has only grown over the past year, and the destinations featured on the new itineraries are ideal for unwinding and renewing the spirit, as well as adventures that remedy restlessness brought on by extended stays at home. Some of the destinations we are calling on are only visited by private yachts, and our guests will have the opportunity to visit these idyllic places that are not on other cruise itineraries,” said Anderson.
Vicky Garcia, the COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, notes that this type of offering isn’t typical for the Crystal Cruises brand but that it's just the type of thing consumers are looking for. “We know these will sell out fast because of the pent-up consumer demand, our consistent growth in sales, and the fact that Crystal has smaller vessels,” Garcia said. “I think we can all call this a win for cruising and something we have been looking forward to.”
Hoping to hop on board? Know that Crystal Cruises is one of the major lines that will require passengers to be vaccinated before boarding. To learn more about their COVID-19 requirements and protocols, check out their Crystal Clean+ 4.0 information online. For more information and to book one of their Bahamas Escapes, visit the official Crystal Cruises site.