Guests And Onboard Vibe
Generally, guests on Crystal Cruises are between 55 and 65. Theyre well-traveled and enjoy the amenities of a luxury cruise but on a bigger scale than, say, luxury cruise competitors Seabourn and Silversea.
Our cruise felt like a large ship experience, but witheverything done at a very high level lovely suites, excellent service, manyspecialty restaurants, different entertainment venues, a casino, lavish Broadway-styleproductions, etc.
Because our cruise was a shorter one-week cruise, gueststended to be younger than the average age on longer cruises part of the workingwealthy class, many in their 40s and 50s.
Crystal is actually going after younger guests, aiming to tempt them with a larger variety of shorter cruises that have been added to its cruise calendar.
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Dining On Crystal Serenity
Choose to dine at one of the alternative, open-seating specialty restaurants for refined Italian cuisine inspired by Piero Selvaggio of Valentino in Los Angeles or high-end Asian fare under the guidance of famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Theres also a formal main dining room and several other casual venues to choose from, including Tastes on the Lido Deck, casual, but closed on formal evenings. Tastes also offers Chinese Comfort Food, such as traditional, Chinese steamed dumplings, noodles, soups, fried rice and vegetables.
Popular by day, The Bistro also serves as an evening café for small bites, tapas, desserts, and late-night snacks, all accompanied by fine wines, champagne and other complimentary beverages.
During dining hours, guests can also order from the full main dining room menu for in-stateroom delivery.
Whats Included With Crystal Cruises
Crystal Expedition Cruises fares include: complimentary airport transfers on days of embarkation and disembarkation beverages including fine wines, champagne, premium spirits and all non-alcoholic beverages such as bottled water, soft drinks and specialty coffees gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff
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Just Back From Crystal Serenity: Changing Cruise Protocols Unchanging Cruise Luxury
Peering out from my Crystal Serenity penthouse verandah in Nassau, I watched as wildly costumed and masked Junkanoo performers below whipped themselves into a frenzy, in a boisterous sendoff to passengers aboard the lines Luxury Bahamas Escapes cruise.
We were embarking on a week of flitting around off-the-beaten-wake Bahamian islands, secure in the knowledge that all aboard — from the 600-plus crew members to the 547 passengers were fully vaccinated and had tested negative for COVID.
Back home, there were rumblings about the new Delta variant. And while the pandemic didnt exactly disappear from consciousness — the captain’s welcome announcement included COVID-avoidance tips, for instance — it certainly receded as the ship sailed into turquoise blue waters
An hour later, a waiter in the ship’s elegant Waterside dining room moved aside a tabletop QR Code menu and handed me a thickly bound bill of fare.
“This is better,” he said.
And yes, it was.
But changes are a given in the COVID era. And while Crystal’s level of service and pampering remains unchanged from Before Times, flexible passengers are likely to be happier passengers.
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Crystal Serenity Sets Sail On Inaugural Luxury Bahamas Escapes Voyage
NASSAU, BAHAMAS Live musical performances and celebrations were held at Pompey Square in Nassau on Saturday, July 3, as Crystal Cruises welcomed guests onboard the cruise lines flagship Crystal Serenity for the inaugural Luxury Bahamas Escapes cruise.
The Bahamas now serves as the official homeport for the boutique ship, which offers seven-night voyages exclusively within The Bahamas.
Government officials and local business leaders were honored to mark the beginning of this exciting new journey that grants passengers the vacation of a lifetime island hopping through the beautiful archipelago of The Bahamas from Nassau and Bimini to Cat Island, Great Exuma, San Salvador and Long Island.
Delivering the keynote remarks at the inaugural ceremony, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio DAguilar said: This partnership signals a significant milestone for cruising in The Bahamas, as the boutique Crystal Serenity ship offers potential to bring back economic empowerment throughout our communities.
No other Caribbean destination could provide the discerning cruiser with an extraordinary itinerary that visits multiple breathtaking islands, all within the same country.
The ship set sail on its debut seven-night, roundtrip, all-inclusive Luxury Bahamas Escapes voyage, which features back-to-back days exploring the Family Islands and a vast selection of active, leisurely and enriching excursions for every kind of traveler.
The final voyage is scheduled to depart on November 6.
Good Prices New Ports
Indeed, a number of diehard Crystal customers were on board. Many planned back-to-back cruises, included one lasting 42 days. One been-there-done-that passenger, a veteran of 37 Crystal cruises, impulsively booked a second week because the new itinerary appealed to his sense of discovery.
And others were merely lured by seven-night pricing that started at $1,999, per person, including gratuities, unlimited top-shelf liquor, access to three specialty restaurants, and some free shore excursions.
The Bahamas itinerary calls at islands rarely — if ever — visited by cruise ships. They include Bimini, a second embarkation alternative just 50 miles from Miami Grand Exuma, home to a high-spirited gang of swimming pigs San Salvador, where Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World and Long Island, whose 663-foot-deep Deans Blue Hole attracts the worlds top freedivers.
Our first call, home of the sprawling Resort World Bimini, gets plenty of tourist action from the states, thanks to regular ferry service from Fort Lauderdale. But the other islands are laid-back and lack tourism infrastructure. Which isnt necessarily a bad thing.
Noting that transportation, guides and facilities arent on par with European and U.S. standards, the ships excursions team asked for understanding and patience. I didnt need either. Residents were consistently welcoming and helpful.
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Crystal Penthouse With Verandah And Third Berth
Spacious living room. Luxurious dining area. Large private verandah. Complimentary wine plus choice of spirits from set menu upon embarkation. Complimentary beer and bottled water in room. Personal butler service. State-of-the-art Bang & Olufsen® sound system. Data port for laptop computer hook-up. 46 flat-panel 3D television and Blu-ray in living room, 26 flat-panel television in bedroom, and flat-panel television in bathroom. Cordless phone. Guest bathroom. Pantry and library. Private workout area. Large bedroom with queen-size bed or twin beds. Master bath with Jacuzzi and ocean view. Separate shower and bidet. Walk-in closet. Refrigerator. Security safe.
Crystal Cruises News: Miami Added To Bahamas Cruises Unvaccinated Passengers Can Now Sail
Crystal Cruises has notified passengers booked on Crystal Serenitys all-Bahamas cruises that beginning with the August 7. 2021 sailing, the ship will now visit Miami as both a port of call and embarkation point.
The line said the ship would no longer sail with 100 percent of guests vaccinated, , in order to comply that bar business from requiring vaccine passports.
The move is still subject to Bahamas government approval. But it led to hundreds of comments on the Cruise Critic message boards, with some booked passengers accusing the luxury line of misrepresenting sailings with its new protocols.
This is not the cruise I was sold, writesMomC, who said she would cancel her upcoming sailing. I am furious and this changed my opinion of the cruise line.
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What Company Owns Crystal Cruises
Genting Hong KongCrystal Cruises/Parent organizationsIn early 2015, global hospitality leader Genting Hong Kong acquired Crystal Cruises from our founding parent company, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha , with a commitment to grow our brand with the addition of a third ship in 2018one that will exceed all current and on-order luxury offerings in the global
Arriving In The Bahamas
The luxury line launched an all-Bahamas itinerary July 3 to jumpstart service at a time when requirements for sailing from U.S. ports were in COVID-induced flux. would sail from Nassau and Bimini, visiting lesser-known Out Islands.
I’d downloaded the required $40 Bahamas Travel Health Visa pre-paid for a $25 rapid antigen test required to re-enter the U.S. and tucked my proof-of-vaccination card into my passport.
But though getting up the gangway wasn’t exactly a long shot, it wasnt a sure bet, either.
A planned detour from the airport to the cruise port landed us at the Baja Mar Convention Center, where yellow-robed medical staff swabbed our nostrils for a free, Crystal-mandated antigen test.
My negative results appeared via email in 20 minutes, and after a gratis snack in an adjoining ballroom, I joined fellow passengers for the quick transfer to the ship. We celebrated with welcome-glasses of French champagne served by tuxedo-clad — and masked — waiters.
Among my shipmates was Middleburg, Va., resident Marty Engle, who was already anticipating the Wagyu steak served in Umi Uma, the ship’s Nobu Matsuhisa-created restaurant. She and her husband had cruised on Serenity two years earlier in Europe, and the ship, rather than the destination, was the lure.
“The Bahamas at the end of summer? People said I was out of my mind,” Engle said. “We may never get off the ship.”
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Vax Proof And Multiple Tests
Besides satisfying Crystals requirements, the Bahamas has its own protocols. Incoming visitors pay $40 for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa, obtained by uploading a vaccination record and a PCR test taken no more than five days prior to entering the country. The online process for getting the visa isnt always intuitive, and if anything goes wrong like your test results are late the last-minute scramble can be a nail-biter.
Speaking of stress, do yourself a favor and avoid arriving the day of your cruise in case of a delayed flight. The best bet is to get to Nassau the day before and stay downtown the Marriott Courtyard Junkanoo Beach close to the local Fish Fry is one good option.
Get to Nassau the day before you cruise and have a drink at the Poop Deck downtown Photo courtesy of Beth D’Addono
Plan on drinks or an early dinner at the Poop Deck, locally owned by the colorful Donna Carrer since 1973. The whole grilled snapper and spicy conch salad is a great way to kick off a Bahamian adventure.
Crystal Serenitys New Luxury Bahamas Escapes Now Open For Reservations
Photo Link: Crystal Serenity & The Bahamas
MIAMI, MARCH 18, 2021 Guests can now book their LuxuryBahamas Escapes voyages as Crystal opens reservations for the recentlyannounced CrystalSerenity cruises. The award-winning luxury ship will sail seven-nightvoyages round-trip from Nassau or Bimini beginning July 3, 2021 and July 4,2021 respectively, becoming the first cruise ship to home port in The Bahamasand return to cruising the Americas. The all-Bahamas itineraries eliminate therisk of border closures between countries and offer close-to-home options forNorth American travelers eager to begin exploring again. As the voyages markthe first return to service for Crystals Ocean fleet, the partnership with TheBahamas is also an important step toward reinvigorating tourism and support forthe islands local communities, which have been greatly impacted by the globalpandemic. The sailings showcase the natural beauty and warm hospitality, aswell as adventure-rich and culturally fascinating pursuits in each destination,including some not accessible to larger cruise ships.
Crystal recently announced 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, comprehensive Crystal Clean+ 4.1 measures, including negative COVID-19 tests for both guests and crew, reduced capacity, social distancing, nimble mask policy and health screening questionnaires.
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Oranjestad 13 Nights Aruba/Oranjestad, Aruba | Cartagena, Colombia | Colón, Panama | Cozumel, Mexico | Miami of America | Ocho Rios, Jamaica | Port Royal, Jamaica | Progreso , Mexico | Puerto Limón, Costa Rica | San Blas Island, Panama San Juan 10 Nights Aruba/Oranjestad, Aruba | Curacao/Willemstad, Curaçao | Grenada/St George’s, Grenada | Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe | Roseau, Dominica | San Juan, Puerto Rico | Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago | St. Barts/Gustavia, Saint Barthélemy Bridgetown 9 Nights Antigua/St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda | Barbados/Bridgetown, Barbados | San Juan, Puerto Rico | St. Lucia/Castries, Saint Lucia | Tortola/Road Town, Virgin Islands Santa Cruz Tenerife 14 Nights Barbados/Bridgetown, Barbados | Praia, Cabo Verde | Puerto Del Rosario, Spain | San Sebastian de La Gomera, Spain | Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain Barcelona 10 Nights Athens 10 Nights Ajaccio, France | Athens/Piraeus, Greece | Barcelona, Spain | Cannes, France | Gaeta, Italy | Genoa , Italy | Heraklion, Crete, Greece | Naples , Italy | Santorini , Greece Istanbul 11 Nights Ashdod, Israel | Athens/Piraeus, Greece | Haifa, Israel | Istanbul, Turkey | Kusadasi, Turkey | Limassol, Cyprus | Mykonos, Greece | Pátmos, Greece | Rhodes, Greece Whittier 7 Nights Hoonah of America | Juneau of America | Ketchikan of America | Skagway of America | Vancouver, Canada | Whittier of America Vancouver 7 Nights
The Takeaway: Cruising During Covid
This is the destination Photo courtesy of Beth D’Addono
Although it would be wonderful to sail away from all things COVID, thats not happening anytime soon. But if cruising is balm to your soul, do the work it takes to get back onboard, knowing that sun and sandy beaches, restful days at sea and the finest hospitality await.
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Penthouse Suite With Verandah And Third Berth
Sizeable living area. Private verandah. Complimentary wine plus choice of spirits from set menu upon embarkation. Complimentary soft drinks, beer and bottled water in room. Personal butler service. Queen-size bed or twin beds, and third berth. Vanity in dressing area. Flat-screen television & DVD player. Data port for laptop computer hook-up. Full Jacuzzi bathtub. Separate shower. Walk-in closet. Refrigerator. Security safe.
The Rejuvenated Crystal Serenity
It was like meeting a friend you havent seen in years and finding her radiant and rejuvenated. My husband Humberto and I experienced this during a 12-day Caribbean cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity, one of Crystal Cruises ocean vessels that received a redesign in late 2018. We had not sailed on her for four years and wondered what we would find. This ship is so beautiful and better than ever!
This extensive redesign, during a dry dock in fall 2018, refreshed the ship and enhanced the guest experience by expanding space and options.
Due to the redesign, the ship now has 36 new penthouses and two new penthouse suites that replaced verandah staterooms on penthouse deck 10. We booked one of the new Seabreeze Penthouses, and at 403 square feet, we found it spacious, stylish and comfortable the perfect home at sea with a walk-in closet, spa-like bathroom and an expansive verandah. It was on this verandah that we loved to start our days with breakfast al fresco. Our butler, Richard, impeccably served fresh berries, flaky croissants, fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee.
The transformation from verandah cabins to penthouses and suites has reduced the ships capacity from 1,070 passengers to 980, but the number of crew remained the same. Translation: more space and more attentive service!
The Crystal Serenity roams the world. Learn more about Crystal Cruises.
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Road And Other Land Vehicles
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Diesel electric based buses have also been produced, including hybrid systems able to run on and store electrical power in batteries. The two main providers of hybrid systems for dieselelectric transit buses include and . , , and are major customers for the Allison EP hybrid systems, while and are major customer for the BAE HybriDrive system. makes their own dieselelectric drive system, which is used in their . The only bus that runs on single diesel-electric transmission is the Mercedes Benz Cito low floor concept bus which was introduced in 1998.
Whats Between You And That Cocktail On The Beach
There is some housekeeping to do before youre on a sandy Bimini beach with a rum punch in hand. All passengers age 12 and up must be fully vaccinated to cruise on most lines. Proof of vaccination along with a negative PCR test is required to book your ticket.
Although Crystal allows a limited number of unvaccinated kids on board, parents should know that they cant freely move around the ship or disembark at every port. The usual kids programming is not offered and the pool, specialty restaurants and most public areas are off-limits, making another family vacation option perhaps a better move.
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Complying With Florida Law
Crystal said all guests age 12 and older are required to be fully vaccinated on all its ships, but added on its website, Due to Florida state law, the company will adjust its vaccination policy for the Miami port of embarkation and will highly recommend, but not require, that all guests be fully vaccinated. Heres a link to the new regulations).
In a letter to booked passengers, Crystal said it would continue to comply with all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health and safety protocols as specified in the Conditional Sail Order, and would welcome a capacity-controlled number of unvaccinated guests on board with specific protocols in place for those passengers.
Crystal is not promising to deliver the same experience to unvaccinated guests. On its website, the line says, On Crystal Serenity, certain public rooms will not be available to unvaccinated guests including Umi Uma, Prego, Churrascaria, Marketplace, Avenue Saloon, Pulse Nightclub, Stardust Supper Club, Silk Bar, Connoisseur Club, Crystal Life Spa and Crystal Life Fitness. Unvaccinated guests will dine in an assigned dining area.
Crystal further said that unvaccinated passengers will also be excluded from certain onboard events — those in Captains Quarters, the Captains Welcome Party and Crystal Society gatherings and that Dancing and other close contact with guests outside ones travel party is not allowed. Elevators may only be used with ones travel party.