In a joint virtual press conference with the Honorable Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism and aviation for the Bahamas, Crystal Cruises announced its plans to restart cruising with new close-to-home “Bahamas Escapes” beginning July 3, 2021. A series of 16 seven-night will sail round-trip cruises from Nassau aboard Crystal Serenity. In addition to its Nassau itineraries, Crystal will also offer 16 seven-night voyages round-trip from Bimini beginning on July 4, 2021 (this will be Serenity's first stop after boarding guests in Nassau, which then begins a continuous loop of the islands).
With her new Bahamas Escapes cruises, 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.
About the departure ports: Nassau, Crystal says, is a hub of art, nightlife and history and is home to 17 beaches, colorful fish and reefs, lavish resorts, straw markets and the third-largest wine cellar in the world (built by notorious pirate, Howard Graysmith). Bimini, on the other hand, is 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 with a lagoon-style pool, hammocks, cabanas and cocktail lounge.
In addition to Nassau and Bimini, Bahamas Escapes feature four Bahamian destinations:
- Harbour Island, called the Nantucket of the Caribbean due to its colorful New England architecture and famed for its Pink Sand Beach. The island is a former capital of the Bahamas. 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-plus islands and cays of the Exumas, and home to the famous swimming pigs. Guests can island-hop, snorkel 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 view French Bay from the lookout tower; also, they can visit the first landing spot of Christopher Columbus, marked by a stone cross.
- Long Island, an 80-mile-long island straddling the Tropic of Cancer and known for its white-sand beaches 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.
Tip: Guests can extend their cruise vacations by choosing Crystal’s Extended Land and Hotel Programs, which offer 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. Guests can also book spa days, golf rounds, casino nights and a host of dining experiences.
Health and Safety Measures
Crystal announced in February 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 in addition to existing “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.
In addition, Crystal is offering travelers reduced deposits and an extended final payment date to 60 days prior to first date of service, as well as other incentives. Guests will also receive a $125 per person 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 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 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.