Crystal to launch Bahamas cruises in July

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Bahamas Escape cruises aboard the Crystal Serenity go on sale March 18.
Bahamas Escape cruises aboard the Crystal Serenity go on sale March 18.

Crystal said Thursday it will resume sailing in the Americas on July 3 under an agreement that will base its Crystal Serenity in the Bahamas for a series of Bahamas-only sailings that will include stops previously accessible only by private yacht.

Crystal's interim CEO, Jack Anderson, said a total of 16 Bahamas Escapes seven-day cruises are planned from July to October.

Passengers can embark every Saturday in Nassau or every Sunday in Bimini for the roundtrip cruises that will then sail to Harbour Island, Great Exuma, San Salvador and Long Island, he said.

Dionisio D'Aguilar, the Bahamian minister of tourism and aviation, said the agreement to make the Crystal Serenity the first ship to homeport there was a year in the making.

He called it a "milestone achievement" and one that he said "may very well prove to be the tipping point" in recovery for the islands' pandemic-ravaged tourism industry.

Introductory prices for the cruises start at $1,999 per guest. The itineraries go on sale March 18, and Anderson said he expects them to sell out quickly.

Anderson said the sailings will be capped at 900 passengers to ensure proper distancing.

Under recently announced Crystal health and safety protocols, all guests will need to be vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure.  They will also have to meet Bahamian entry requirements, which include proof of a negative PCR test with 72 hours of departure and a negative antigen test on arrival.

The new Bahamas cruises will replace Crystal Serenity's previously scheduled sailings through Oct. 19. Guests who were booked on those have the option to transfer their bookings to one of the new cruises with a 115% credit for the fare paid.

Anderson said it is too soon to know whether the Bahamas sailings will be extended or whether the ship would resume its previously announced schedule.

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