Crystal Cruises, which is requiring all guests to be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to their Crystal cruise, will be offering sailings from The Bahamas on board Crystal Serenity starting July 3, 2021.
“How happy and proud we are to partner with The Bahamas for these special voyages,” said Jack Anderson, interim president and CEO, Crystal Cruises, during a joint virtual press conference with the Honorable Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism & Aviation for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. “We know these cruises will be a perfect way to reunite guests with the Crystal experience they know and love. These Bahamas cruises are going to sell out very, very quickly.”
The Bahamas Escapes are a series of 16 seven-night, roundtrip cruises from Nassau beginning July 3, as well as 16 seven-night voyages roundtrip from Bimini beginning July 4, 2021. With these sailings, Crystal Serenity becomes the first ship to homeport in The Bahamas, as well as the first ocean ship to sail from the Americas since the cruise industry’s voluntary halt in operations almost a year ago.
“Close-to-home destinations for our U.S. guests, and the beauty of the Islands of The Bahamas—it’s the perfect opportunity to start exploring again,” noted Anderson, with D’Aguilar adding that “this is a milestone achievement, one we are most honored to be a part of after a year of uncertainty, of despair, doubt. We will remember this moment. Indeed, this might very well prove to be the tipping point for our citizens, for our tourism industry, for our nation.”
The cruises feature stops in Harbour Island, “the Nantucket of the Caribbean”; Great Exuma, the largest of the 300+ islands and cays of the Exumas; Long Island, an 80-mile-long island straddling the Tropic of Cancer and known for its white-sand beaches, technicolor waters and lush greenery; and San Salvador, featuring more than 50 dive spots. Crystal Serenity, noted Anderson, will be the first cruise ship to sail to several of these unspoiled destinations that have previously only been visited by private yachts.
D’Aguilar noted that The Bahamas has “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.” And Anderson added, “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.”
Reacting to the news, Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, said, “Finally, we have a date to return to sailing. Kudos to Crystal for creating a luxury, close-to-home experience for our travel advisors to sell, as this type of Bahamas cruise is different for the brand. We know these will sell out fast because of the pent-up consumer demand, our consistent recent growth in sales, and the fact that Crystal has smaller vessels. This itinerary will appeal to so many clients, including mature travelers who are vaccinated, upper-premium travelers who can now experience Crystal’s luxury product with this week-long sailing and those who just want to get on a ship. I think we can all call this a win for cruising and something we have been looking forward to.”
Guests will have the option of extending their travels before or after the cruise in either Nassau or Bimini via Crystal’s Extended Land and Hotel Programs, staying at Nassau’s SLS Baha Mar or Hilton Resorts World Bimini.
“Crystal Serenity is the perfect ship to bring to The Bahamas,” said Anderson. “She is socially spacious by design and with a reduced capacity of no more than 900 guests, offering more space per guest than any ship sailing in the Americas.”
Crystal is offering savings, reduced deposits and an extended final payment date to 60 days prior to first date of service, as well as other incentives. Best available 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 5 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.
The new Bahamas cruises will replace Crystal Serenity’s previously scheduled itineraries that were set to sail July 8 through and including Oct. 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. Additionally, Crystal is offering a $100 travel advisor bonus commission for each stateroom or suite booked.