Luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity will launch in July in the Bahamas with weekly sailings from Nassau and Bimini to the archipelago’s southern ports of Port Island, Long Island and San Salvador, said Jack Anderson, Crystal’s acting president and CEO.

At a press conference at the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Mr Anderson described Crystal’s itinerary to The Bahamas as an important step towards normalisation for both Crystal and the destination, after COWID-19 affected travel.

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The Crystal Serenity will be the first ocean liner to return to America and the first ship to have its home port in the Bahamas, Anderson said. This deployment also provides the Bahamas – the busiest cruise port in the world before the pandemic – with an opportunity to establish a model for resuming cruise operations.

The Crystal Serenity will be the first cruise ship to call at several of these pristine destinations previously visited only by private yachts, Anderson said. This aid will provide much needed economic support to the people and businesses of The Bahamas, which like other destinations heavily dependent on tourism, have been hit hard by the pandemic.

This is a historic achievement, said Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation of The Bahamas. After a year of uncertainty, despair and doubt, we will remember this moment. This could be a turning point for our citizens, for our tourism industry and for our nation.

This could be a defining moment for our citizens, for our tourism industry and for our nation. – Dionisio D’Aguilar. (Photo: Brian Major)

More than 70% of The Bahamas’ tax revenue comes from tourism, Mr D’Aguilar said, meaning the return of cruises and partners like Crystal Cruises will bring much-needed economic relief to the nation.

Every trip to The Bahamas helps local businesses, tour operators and travel agents in our islands get back to work, Mr D’Aguilar said. The possibility of pre- and post-tourism in The Bahamas will also increase tourism revenues. We are delighted to welcome cruise passengers back after a one-year hiatus.

Cruise passengers must comply with Bahamian immigration protocols, D’Aguilar said, including a negative PCR test for COVID-19, which must be performed within five days prior to travel, and a Bahamian traveller’s health visa.

He said officials of the Bahamian government discussed the upcoming operation with leaders of the local community to prepare residents for the resumption of tourism activities.

The southern islands of The Bahamas have long been home to luxury cruise ships, said Joy Jibrilu, director general of The Bahamas Department of Tourism. Travellers visiting these remote islands are looking for a special experience, an authentic Bahamian experience, Mr Jibrilu said.

She added that the capacity of the Crystal Serenity is much smaller than that of the larger cruise ships, which means that the region will benefit from the arrival of cruise passengers in the islands rather than suffer side effects. We’re glad they see the benefits of cruising, so everyone benefits.

Current trend

In the Bahamas, Crystal also offers a special itinerary that allows travel consultants to sell cruises to the vacation market after a year without a cruise.

We finally have a date to go back to sea, says Vicki Garcia, Director of Operations and co-owner of Cruise Planners, American Express Travel. Compliments to Crystal for creating a luxurious, close-to-home experience that our travel advisors can sell, as this type of Bahamas cruise is very special to the brand, she said.

We know they will sell quickly due to pent-up consumer demand, our steady sales increase of late and the fact that Crystal has smaller vessels, Garcia said. This itinerary will appeal to many customers, including adult travelers who are vaccinated, travelers who can now experience Crystal’s luxury product with this sailing week, and those who just want to step aboard.

The new routes start from 3. From July to the end of October 2021, with a total of 32 Bahamas Escape voyages departing from Nassau on Saturdays and Bimini on Sundays. Cruises are available from the age of 18. March to book.

Anderson says the 900-person Crystal Serenity is ideal for travelers to observe the effects of COVID-19 on travel. The Crystal Serenity is designed to be socially generous and will operate at a reduced capacity of up to 900 guests. The luxury ship offers more space per passenger than any other ship in America, he said.

In accordance with the Crystal Purity + 4.0 protocol, passengers must present proof of KOVID-19 vaccination prior to flight and proof of a negative KOVID-19 test prior to boarding. During the flight on the Crystal Serenity, masks are worn, contactless meals are available and guests’ health is regularly monitored.

According to Anderson, Crystal’s best rates for flights to the Bahamas start at $1,999 per person, including $500 in saved airfare and $500 in saved reservations. Until the 5th. In April, travelers can book tickets without a deposit. Crystal offers flexible cancellation policies and a balance payable 60 days prior to departure with the flight.

Crystal also offers a wide range of Bahamas and beach vacations, with snorkeling, diving, water sports and excursions before and after disembarkation, including stays at the mega resort Nassau Baha Mar.

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What are the main ports of call for cruise ships in The Bahamas?

Freeport, Nassau and the Bahamas’ private islands, such as Half Moon Cay and Castaway Cay, are the most popular destinations for cruise ships.

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