In a joint virtual press conference with the Honorable Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism & Aviation for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Crystal Cruises has announced its plans to restart cruising with new close-to-home Bahamas Escapes beginning July 3, 2021 with a series of 16 seven-night, round-trip cruises from Nassau on its award-winning flagship, Crystal Serenity.
Besides its Nassau itineraries, Crystal will also offer 16 seven-night voyages round-trip from Bimini beginning on July 4, 2021. With her new Bahamas Escapes cruises, Crystal Serenity becomes the first ship to home port in The Bahamas, and the first ocean ship to sail from the Americas since the cruise industry’s voluntary halt in operations almost a year ago. In attendance at today’s press conference announcing the new Bahamas Escapes cruises were Jack Anderson, Crystal’s interim president and CEO, Minister D’Aguilar and Director General Joy Jibrilu, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
“Like our guests, we have been eagerly looking forward to the day we can welcome them back on board, and we’re thrilled that this day will come in The Bahamas,” Anderson said.
“The new Bahamas Escapes cruises will allow travelers to enjoy luxury cruising now, as well as bring much-needed benefits to the local workforce, airlines, restaurants, retailers and hotels for pre- and post-cruise stays. The launch of these cruises will also drive economic growth to The Bahamas, which, like other destinations around the world, has been negatively affected by the global pandemic.”
“The Bahamas is ready and delighted to welcome cruise visitors back to the islands and to partner with Crystal Cruises in the effort to restore and help re-activate our tourism industry and protect jobs and businesses,” D’Aguilar said.
“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, and the support that these cruises will bring to multiple communities within the country will be tremendous.
We have worked tirelessly to ensure a safe and healthy stay for all travelers, enhancing the innately spacious and outdoor-focused experience the islands provide. Guests will find ample room to roam and a warm welcome from the people of this unique destination.”
Anderson added, “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. 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.”
Crystal Serenity will return to sailing with reduced capacity, providing guests a passenger space ratio that is twice that of contemporary cruise lines and allowing for the best social distancing aboard any cruise ship. The onboard Crystal Family will welcome guests back home to a shipboard experience that features spacious guest staterooms and suites and social areas; abundant choices for activities and enrichment; elegant surroundings and amenities; and the genuine, personalized service provided by Crystal’s celebrated crew.
The new itineraries highlight the enchanting, romantic nature of The Bahamas and its islands, where guests will find a bevy of sun-drenched pursuits that showcase the destination’s ecotourism; thousands of miles of irresistible beaches and blue waters; scuba diving and snorkeling; world-class fishing; dining; resort experiences; and much more.
“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 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,” Anderson said.
Departing from either Nassau, a hub of art, nightlife, history, 17 spectacular beaches, colorful fish and ancient reefs, lavish resorts and straw markets, and home to the third-largest wine cellar in the world built by notorious pirate, Howard Graysmith; or Bimini, a Hemingway favorite known as the sport fishing capital of the world where cruisers can also enjoy the resort amenities of The Beach Club at Bimini, a private island oasis with a lagoon-style pool, hammocks, cabanas and cocktail lounge. In addition to Nassau and Bimini, Bahamas Escapes feature four idyllic Bahamian destinations:
Harbour Island, called the Nantucket of the Caribbean with its colorful New England architecture and famed for its Pink Sand Beach. The island is a former capital of The Bahamas and has been twice recognized as The Best Island in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure magazine. Guests can also discover Preacher’s Cave, Glass Window Bridge and Sapphire Blue Hole on North Eleuthera Island; Great Exuma, the largest of the 300+ islands and cays of the Exumas, home to waters so stunning they can be seen from outer space and the famous swimming pigs. Guests can island-hop among pristine isles, snorkel in gorgeous reef-fringed cays, escape to secluded beaches and hidden caves, enjoy an ATV adventure and dive clear waters; San Salvador Island, featuring more than 50 dive spots and splendid beaches. Guests can hike up to Watling’s Castle ruins and gaze out at French Bay from the lookout tower; also they can visit the first landing spot of Christopher Columbus, marked by an iconic stone cross; Long Island, an 80-mile-long island straddling the Tropic of Cancer and known for its white-sand beaches, technicolor waters and lush greenery. Guests can explore the geological and ecological exploration of Hamilton’s Cave and Dean’s Blue Hole and enjoy some of the bluest waters in the islands at Gordon’s Beach.
These ports of call are subject to final confirmation and enhancement and may also vary according to the captain’s discretion due to weather or other conditions.
For an extraordinary value, guests can extend their cruise vacations by choosing Crystal’s Extended Land and Hotel Programs feature that carefully selected shoreside partners to ensure a seamless vacation from ship to shore. For Crystal Serenity’s new voyages, these include Nassau’s SLS Baha Mar and Hilton Resorts World Bimini, where guests will enjoy luxury accommodations and daily breakfast, as well as the stylish amenities of each. Guests can also indulge in spa days, golf rounds, casino nights and a host of dining experiences in each tropical paradise. The pre- and post-cruise hotel programs in Nassau and Bimini start at $359 and $299 per guest, respectively, including transfers between the resort properties and the airports and all taxes and resort fees.
Crystal announced on February 18 that guests must be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to boarding any Crystal ship. This new requirement is besides existing, comprehensive Crystal Clean+ 4.0 measures, including negative COVID-19 tests for both guests and crew, reduced capacity, social distancing, nimble mask policy and health screening questionnaires.
Besides the peace of mind provided by such robust protocols, Crystal is enticing travelers with compelling savings, reduced deposits and an extended last payment date to 60 days prior to first date of service, and other incentives. Best cruise fares for the new Bahamas Escapes cruises start from $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 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.
The new Bahamas cruises will replace Crystal Serenity’s previously scheduled itineraries that would have to sail July 8 through and including October 19, 2021. Guests who were booked on these voyages have the option to transfer their bookings to one of the new cruises with an applicable 115 percent cruise credit based on cruise fare paid.