Crystal Cruises breaks with CDC order in Florida to board passengers in Miami

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The Crystal Serenity, which is currently sailing an all-Bahamas itinerary. The line is adding a stop in Miami, starting next month.
The Crystal Serenity, which is currently sailing an all-Bahamas itinerary. The line is adding a stop in Miami, starting next month.

Crystal Cruises' Crystal Serenity will not follow the CDC's Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) in order to make Miami a port of call on its Bahamas cruises, starting Aug 7.

The line said it will still maintain all CDC onboard recommendations and will antigen-test all guests prior to embarkation, as per its protocols.

Citing demand for close-to-home cruises, Crystal said this week that it would add Miami as an embarkation point and new port of call on the Crystal Serenity's Bahamas cruises, starting with the Aug. 7 sailing from Nassau. The ship will arrive in Miami on Aug. 9, where travelers can embark and those onboard can visit the city.

As of July 23, the CSO and its measures, such as technical guidelines, are nonbinding recommendations for cruise ships arriving in or departing from a port in Florida. The CDC is continuing to operate the CSO as a voluntary program for cruise ships and as of July 26 said that all "Florida-porting ships have chosen to voluntarily follow" the order.

The CDC said July 29 that Crystal notified the CDC that the Serenity would enter U.S. waters and port in PortMiami in August and that Crystal said that it "will be choosing not to follow the CSO on a voluntary basis. Under CDC's color-coding system, ships choosing to not follow the CSO's provisions on a voluntary basis will be designated as 'Gray.' This means that CDC cannot confirm that the cruise ship operator's health and safety protocols align with CDC's standards for protecting passengers, crew, port personnel, and communities against the public health risks posed by Covid-19."

Crystal said in a statement that it is in continuous communication with the CDC.

"Crystal appreciates and respects CDC guidance and recommendations and respects Florida law and the recent decision," it said. "The company intends to meet or exceed the CDC recommendations including 100% vaccinated crew and capacity controlled unvaccinated guests with additional requirements and restrictions. Crystal Serenity is currently sailing in the Bahamas with extraordinary Crystal Clean Plus guest safety protocols."

Another result of the changed rules in Florida is that the Serenity will not have to quarantine for 14 days prior to embarking guests from the U.S., Crystal said.

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