The luxury cruise line to reboot pause with series of Bahamas Escapes
By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva
Good news Crystal Cruises fans. The tony ship operator is rebooting operations with a series of 16 seven-night cruises from Nassau and Bimini. The voyages, which take place on the Serenity, mark the first ocean ship to sail from the Americas since the cruise pause.
The all-Bahamas itineraries allows Crystal to sail without risk of border closures and keep North American guests close to home.
Itineraries and protocols
The stylish Crystal Serenity will return to sailing with protocols in place. It will carry fewer passengers and mandate mask wearing, proof of a COVID19 vaccination and more.
Cruises intend to showcase the enchanting, romantic nature of The Bahamas and its islands. Each port offers opportunities for diverse nautical pursuits. There’s thousands of miles of beautiful beaches and balmy seas where people can go scuba diving, snorkel, fish and dine on conch and other local delicacies.
Itineraries start in either Nassau or Bimini. The former boasts bustling nightlife, duty-free shopping and upscale resorts. It also sports the third largest wine cellar in the word built by infamous pirate Howard Graysmith.
Bimini, on the other hand, is more serene. Popularized by Papa Hemingway the charming, little island is famous for fishing. You will also see local children offering to braid your hair with colorful beads. I let them do my tresses several times. What I like about the braiding is your hair always looks good without any work.
Other islands in the sun on the itinerary
The ship also stops at Harbour Island ,“The Nantucket of the Caribbean.” Awash in vibrant New England architecture it’s also famous Pink Sand Beach.
Another super stop especially for snorkeling or diving is Great Exuma. It is the largest of the 300+ islands and cays of the Exumas.
Divers will love San Salvador Island which features more than 50 dive spots. It also offers an opportunity for a great hike up to Watling’s Castle ruins. Besides that you can visit the first landing spot of Christopher Columbus, marked by an iconic stone cross.
And then there’s Long Island, an 80-mile-long island that straddles the Tropic of Cancer. It is famous for white-sand beaches, technicolor waters and verdant backdrop. If you’re into geology or ecology this is your spot. And if your curious, Long Island Iced Tea didn’t originate there.
Okay, we are still in rocky waters and these ports and itineraries are subject to final confirmation and enhancement and the captain’s discretion due to weather or other conditions.
While you’re over there you may as well go for it and stay a bit longer. Crystal’s Extended Land and Hotel Programs provide seamless ship to shore opportunities.
Partnering in the program are Nassau’s SLS Baha Mar and Hilton Resorts World Bimini. Crystal offers pre-and post-cruise stays that includes many amenities.
What passengers need to know
Before boarding all passengers must have had a full COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior departure. That’s in addition to a negative COVID19 test. And as a reminder masks and social distancing will be enforced.
Bahamas itineraries substitute for Serenity’s previous schedule
Crystal Serenity will no longer be doing previous itineraries that were set to sail July 8 through and including October 19, 2021. Guests who were booked on these voyages can transfer bookings to one of the new cruises with an applicable 115 percent cruise credit based on cruise fare paid.
Crystal Cruises redefines luxury with white glove service, gourmet cuisine, butlers in certain categories and attention to details. A foodie’s delight the ships spotlight the exceptional cuisine of master chef Nobu Matsuhisa in his only seagoing restaurant. Wines, beers and premium spirits are free as are your tips, WiFi and more.
If you’re hungering for a cruise this is your chance. You won’t have to fly far and Crystal is about as good as it gets. For booking and additional information contact a Pavlus agent either on line or at 800-528-9300.
The Bahamas sits about 50 miles off Florida’s coast providing easy access to the cruise ship. The chain consists or more than 700 islands and cays and 16 unique island destinations. Learn more about the islands at www.bahamas.com or on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram.