The rumours have been swirling for weeks that some cruise lines were considering making an end-run around the CDC’s continued delay in the resumption of cruising in U.S. waters by resuming cruising from ports in Mexico or the Caribbean instead.
In a joint press conference today with The Bahamas, Crystal Cruises became the first North American cruise line to take that leap.
Crystal Interim President and CEO Jack Anderson announced that, beginning 03JUL the Crystal Serenity would be sailing 100% Bahamas itineraries through to OCT.
“This is an exciting day for cruising, for the Islands of the Bahamas, and for Crystal”, he said, explaining the Serenity would be “the first ocean ship returning to sailing in the Americas and the first to be homeported in the Bahamas.”
Thirty-two, 7-night departures will sail round trip from either Nassau or Bimini, which Anderson points out is only a stone’s throw away for U.S. guests and present “a perfect opportunity to start exploring again.”
The all-Bahamas itineraries include maiden calls at “some destinations previously only visited by private yachts” as well as day access to the famous Bimini Beach Club. Guests will also have options of packages including pre- and post-luxury hotel stays in either Nassau or Bimini.
“Nearly a year of planning has brought us to this moment of triumph,” said an elated Minister of Tourism & Aviation for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Honorable Dionisio D’Aguilar, “this may well be the tipping point” in post-pandemic recovery.
Both Crystal and the Bahamas addressed health and safety protocols, with Crystal pointing out its ‘Crystal Clean’ protocols and recent announcement of requiring guests to be vaccinated, which Anderson said has been, “well received by guests and travel advisor community.” The
Serenity will also be sailing with a reduced capacity of only 900 guests, “more space than any ship in the Americas.”
Pax arriving in the Bahamas to board Crystal’s bubble cruises will need a negative PCR COVID test 5 days prior, as well as a ‘Bahamas Travel Health Visa.’
Cruise fares for Crystal’s Bahamas Escapes cruises start from USD $1,999 per guest, including $500 Book Now Savings and $500 air savings along with Best Available Savings by category. Guests will receive a $125 per person As You Wish shipboard credit with Crystal Society Savings doubling to five percent; new-to-Crystal guests saving 2.5 percent; and solo fares starting at just 125 percent. The company’s Crystal Confidence program offers a no-money-down deposit window until April 5, 2021, with a reduced deposit of just 15 percent due at that time as part of its Easy Book program.
The Bahamas Escapes cruises open for reservations on March 18, 2021; and travelers with Future Cruise Credits and Future Cruise Payments may redeem them on these sailings.