(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, August 26, 2020 – Travelers now have more than three full years of choices to look forward to aboard boutique yacht Crystal Esprit, as Crystal Yacht Cruises opens reservations for the yacht’s 2023 and early 2024 itineraries. On the roster of predominantly schedule-friendly six-, seven- and eight-night voyages are idyllic islands, chic rivieras and ancient civilizations found in the Seychelles, Greece, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Croatia and more, with itineraries designed to offer immersive experiences in each region. Guests can reserve their 2023 Crystal Esprit voyage with no money down, as Crystal Confidence 2.0 offers a 90-day deposit window, extended final payments and relaxed cancellation schedules for all voyages on all Crystal brand experiences through 2023.
From January 2023 through March 2024, the 62-guest, all-suite, butler-serviced yacht – named the 2019 Best Small-Ship Cruise Line by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler – will sail 58 enriching itineraries that will entice history buffs, underwater adventurers, foodies and cultural savants alike, including:
April – October 2023
Greek Isles & Corinth Canal – Visiting shores of ancient archaeological wonders and contemporary holiday havens alike, with highlights including Athens; Ionian Sea gems Parga and Lefkada; passage of the Corinth Canal; Cycladic isles of Delos, Mykonos and Santorini; and hidden, out-of-the-way spots like Patmos, Paros and Crete.
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast & the Adriatic – Offering a blend of deep history in Sibenik, Dubrovnik, Split and Trogir, where archaeological and UNESCO sites abound, the outdoor treasures and pursuits found in Kotor, Montenegro, along the peninsula of Piran, Slovenia and Venetian influences in Vis and Hvar and more.
Italian Riviera – Featuring calls in locales of legendary beauty like the dramatic cliffs of Positano, the chic island of Capri, lovely island of Elba and the hilltop vistas in Taormina, as well as the boot-tip gem of Otranto, Eternal City of Rome, Riviera spots Portofino and Porto Venere (for Cinque Terre) and the world’s marble capital of Marina da Carrara, which also offers access to the chic beaches and shops if Forte dei Marmi.
French Riviera – Highlighting the chic harbors fancied by elite travelers for decades, calling in Nice, St-Tropez, Cannes and Corsica, with an overnight in Monte Carlo and a visit to charming Le Lavandou. A new itinerary combines the Côte d’Azur and Italian Riviera for a stunning early summer escape.
April, November and December 2023
Holy Land and Middle East – Exploring the ancient civilizations and multi-spirituality of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Cyprus, with new seven-night routes roundtrip from Eilat, longer itineraries and multiple overnights including Ashdod, Eilat, Aqaba, Cairo (Suez) and Larnaca and visits to Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh, Safaga and Hurghada. Guests can trace historical paths to the Pink City of Petra and Wadi Rum via Aqaba, Jerusalem and Bethlehem and the pyramids and temples of Egypt, while stops along the Red Sea Riviera afford access to excellent sites for diving, snorkeling and off-road desert adventures. The Holiday itinerary spends overnights in Ashdod and Aqaba, allowing guests to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas exploring Jerusalem and a New Year’s Eve celebration in Wadi Rum.
January – March 2023 & 2024
Seychelles Islands – Nineteen identical itineraries (total for 2023 and 2024) sailing roundtrip from Mahé/Eden, focused on the tropics and natural treasures of the archipelago, from the unspoiled beaches of powdery sand, UNESCO-protected wildlife reserves and crystal blue waters surrounding Praslin, Cousin Island, La Passe, Laraie Bay, Aride Island and Mahé/Victoria.
Several of the itineraries maximize the distinct features of Crystal Esprit, including the yacht’s private marina, fully outfitted for complimentary use of water skis, wake and paddle boards, kayaks, jet skis and snorkel gear, and deep-water adventures up to 1,000 feet in the private submersible for an additional charge. The all-suite yacht offers Crystal’s signature acclaimed standard of luxury and service with private butler service for every suite; fresh, farm-to-table cuisine and an array of open-seating dining venues.
Fares for Crystal Esprit’s 2023 and early 2024 itineraries begin at $2,699 per person.
The safety of guests and crew members is Crystal’s number one priority and the fleet will resume service only when the company’s expert team and global health and government authorities indicate that it is safe to do so. Crystal has suspended all voyages across its fleet for the remainder of 2020, and introduced Crystal Clean+ – the initial set of health and safety protocols to be implemented when the company resumes service. Crystal Clean+ is considered the 2.0 version of Crystal’s already stringent protocols. The policies were developed with the latest data available from health experts and will be updated as new information and guidelines become available.
(PRESS RELEASE)_FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA., August 26, 2020 – German propulsion manufacturer SCHOTTEL has won a contract to supply state-of-the-art pump jets for five additional expedition cruise ships (with option to include a sixth) for Portuguese-based Mystic Cruises. Two pump jets – also known as hydro jets – will be installed aboard each of the 413-feet-long and 62-feet-wide luxury ships, under construction or on order at West Sea Viana Shipyard in Portugal. The five ships will sail under Mystic Cruises’ North America brand, Atlas Ocean Voyages. World Navigator, Atlas Ocean Voyages’ new ship to launch in July 2021, is the first ship under the new agreement to receive the state-of-the-art SCHOTTEL Pump Jets. For her inaugural year, World Navigator will sail all-inclusive, luxe-adventure expeditions in the Black, Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, South America, and Antarctica.
Mário Ferreira, Chairman of Mystic Invest, the holding company of Mystic Cruises and Atlas Ocean Voyages, said: “Our goal is to build the cleanest, safest and quietest expedition ships that meet and exceed the strict requirements of the regions where our ships sail. We designed our cruise ships to ensure that we do our part to help sustain these unparalleled places for future generations to enjoy. These SCHOTTEL exclusive thrusters are perfect for bringing guests closer to more marine wildlife – safely and sustainably. We can stop our ships’ propellers and engage the pump jets to quietly cruise up to five knots in wildlife-rich waters and not frighten away the beautiful fish. SCHOTTEL’s Pump Jets are very effective aboard previous Mystic Cruises ships, and we have again opted for SCHOTTEL’s system for Atlas Ocean Voyages’ expedition ships.”
Low-noise jets for highest comfort on board
Each of the new expedition cruise vessels will be equipped with two electrically driven SCHOTTEL Pump Jets type SPJ 82 (335 kW each). The extremely compact SPJs are not only being installed flush with the hull of these new vessels, but also in a small recess, further protecting the propulsion unit. The elastic mounting leads to minimized noise and vibration levels. Pump jets diminish ship vibrations for guests’ comfort and minimize cavitation, which significantly decreases underwater noise. Sea life is highly sensitive to noise – which travels farther and louder in water – and tends to scatter when it hears noise caused by propeller cavitation. A video illustrating how pump jets work can be viewed at https://www.schottel.de/marine-propulsion/spj-pump-jet/.
LEACON sealing system
At the same time, the pump jets will be equipped with the patented and DNV-GL type-approved SCHOTTEL LEACON sealing system. This system ensures continuous leakage control of the seals and prevents water from entering the gearbox and, of even greater importance, oil from escaping into the seawater. Considered a non-oil-to-water interface, the system complies with the VGP regulations of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). LEACON further supports Atlas’ holistic environmental-friendly cruise approach.
(PRESS RELEASE)_SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (August 25, 2020) – Due to restrictions and limitations with border and port access determined by government and health authorities and the continued uncertainty of airline travel, Princess Cruises is cancelling its early 2021 World Cruises and Circle South America cruises on two ships:
Guests currently booked on these cancelled voyages will receive a refundable Future Cruise Credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 25% of the cruise fare paid. To receive the above FCCs, no action is required by the guest or their travel advisor.
Alternatively, guests can forfeit the bonus FCC offer and request a refund for all money paid on their booking by using this online form. Guests have until September 30, 2020 to elect a refund, or they will automatically receive the default offer listed above.
Princess will protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full, in recognition of the critical role they play in the cruise line’s business and success.
The most current information and instructions for booked guests affected by these cancellations, and more information on FCCs and refunds, can be found online at Information on Impacted & Cancelled Cruises.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, August 21, 2020 – With the help of celebrity partners past and present, Carnival Cruise Line today announced that its next Excel-class ship arriving in 2022 to coincide with its 50th birthday celebration will be named “Carnival Celebration.”
A full roster of Carnival partners, including Kathie Lee Gifford, Guy Fieri and Shaquille O’Neal, unwrapped boxes that revealed the letters of the Celebration name, which is both a throwback to one of the popular early ships in the Carnival fleet, as well as a recognition of Carnival’s 50th birthday celebration that will take place in 2022 when the new Carnival Celebration will join the fleet. The video announcement was made across Carnival’s social media channels and can be viewed here.
Carnival Celebration will debut from PortMiami in November 2022, and will be a sister ship to Mardi Gras, the first in the Excel series scheduled to enter service on Feb. 6, 2021 from Port Canaveral, Fla. The addition of Carnival Celebration to Miami will maintain PortMiami's position as the top embarkation port for Carnival Cruise Line.
“The name Carnival Celebration couldn’t be more perfect for a ship that will be a key component of our 50th Birthday festivities,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Many thanks to our celebrity partners who helped us officially ‘unbox the fun’ and reveal the name of a ship that promises to be a spectacular addition to our fleet. Carnival Celebration is our 50th Birthday present to our guests!”
Carnival Celebration will include many of the features that have made Mardi Gras one of the most anticipated ships in cruising, including BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, along with some unique design features created specifically for this vessel.
Carnival’s 50th Birthday celebration kicks off in March 2022 – the company’s birthday month – with a series of commemorative sailings that will feature special entertainment and itineraries then continue all year long, culminating with the arrival of Carnival Celebration to Miami in November 2022. Additional information on the March 2022 sailings is available at www.carnival.com/sailabration.
Carnival Celebration’s itineraries will be announced over the coming weeks and the ship will be opening up for sale in October.
Guests can register to be the “first to know” about the ship’s itineraries and special sale promotions at www.carnival.com/ship2022.
(PRESS RELEASE)_FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA., August 19, 2020 – Atlas Ocean Voyages, the small-ship, all-inclusive, luxe-adventure, expedition cruise brand is now available via more than 6,000 travel agency websites powered by Passport Online, the leisure travel industry leader in website, web content, email marketing, and social media solutions. Adventurers, fun seekers and like-spirited travelers can now access and view Atlas Ocean Voyages’ latest information and inaugural-year itineraries through their personal Travel Advisors’ websites as they plan to return to travel in 2021. With Atlas Ocean Voyages expanding the selection of future travel options on their websites, Travel Advisors have more opportunities to generate more business and book a distinctive, luxe-adventure expedition aboard World Navigator, Atlas’ new and first ship to launch in July 2021.
“We are glad to make our distinctive luxe-adventure journeys available on the vast network of Travel Advisor websites and email marketing tools powered by Passport Online,” said Alberto Aliberti, President of Atlas Ocean Voyages. “With Atlas augmenting the online selection of future cruising options on their personal Travel Advisors’ websites, more travelers can learn about Atlas Ocean Voyages and see our extraordinary journeys for themselves. This, along with Atlas’ GET PAID NOW, is among the ways Atlas Ocean Voyages is supporting and helping drive more business for our valued Travel Advisor partners.”
Atlas Ocean Voyages GET PAID NOW is the industry’s most generous and immediate incentive program. Travel Advisors immediately receive a $750 or $500 gift card for each deposited booking in a Suite or Veranda/Horizon/Adventure stateroom, respectively, plus earn 15 percent commission when their clients sail. Travel Advisors can find more information about Atlas Ocean Voyages’ GET PAID NOW at www.AtlasOceanVoyages.com/partneroffers.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, August 17, 2020 – Following the announcement of the Crystal Clean+ safety and health protocols for its Ocean and River fleets, Crystal has unveiled public health measures for its upcoming expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor and for its yacht, Crystal Esprit. Crystal Clean+ is considered the 2.0 version of Crystal’s already stringent standards of health and safety procedures, enhanced to further safeguard guests’ and crews’ wellbeing and offer travelers peace of mind when they return to cruising the world again. The set of protocols was developed according to the most up-to-date scientific data and expert recommendations available and will be continually evaluated and revised as new information becomes available.
The Crystal Clean+ protocols are predominantly consistent across the entire Crystal fleet, with some specific nuances to accommodate the differences of the River ships and Crystal Endeavor and Crystal Esprit. Protocols will be similar to those set for the company’s Ocean ships Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, with slight modifications to accommodate each ship’s unique facilities.
“The boutique adventures and intimate atmosphere found aboard Crystal Esprit and Crystal Endeavor will continue catering to travelers’ preferences for active experiences, delivered with Crystal’s signature personalized service,” said Mark Spillane, director of sales and marketing for Crystal Yacht Cruises and Crystal Expedition Cruises. “Crystal Clean+ serves to ensure that these experiences are healthy and safe for all guests and crew, so that guests can embark on the adventures they’ve been dreaming of with the peace of mind that Crystal holds their wellbeing as the top priority.”
The ships will set sail with reduced capacity and all social distancing guidelines will be followed, while the company’s policy regarding masks and face coverings will remain nimble to abide by evolving recommendations and local requirements. Crystal Endeavor’s and Crystal Esprit’s cleaning and disinfection protocols will follow enhanced frequency in guest suites and all social spaces and ship tenders (zodiacs), utilizing medical-grade products listed on the EPA List N, which are approved for use against COVID-19, norovirus and other infectious diseases. Open Seating dining remains for both ships with social distance considerations and self-service dining options will be eliminated.
Crystal is committed to being in full compliance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, for Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Endeavor), EU Healthy Gateways (for Crystal Esprit) and Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), global health measures and any local regulations set by European cities and states (for Crystal River Cruises) and, as such, will update these protocols according to their recommendations as they become available or are adjusted. The Crystal Clean+ program will be implemented across all Crystal brand experiences – Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Cruises and Crystal Expedition Cruises – when they resume sailing in 2021. Crystal has voluntarily extended its suspension of global voyages until December 31, 2020.
All Crystal ships across the fleet including Ocean, River, Yacht and Expedition offer nearly double the space per person than ships of a similar size, which is among the highest space ratios in the industry and their social spaciousness will be further augmented through the Crystal Clean+ program’s evolving public health and safety measures. Further, Crystal Endeavor and Crystal’s River ships are all-suite and all-balcony with most staterooms on its two Ocean ships featuring private verandas for fresh airflow.
The safety of guests and crew members is Crystal’s number one priority and the fleet will resume service only when the company’s expert team and global health and government authorities indicate that it is safe to do so.
(PRESS RELEASE)_Geneva, Switzerland (August 17, 2020) — MSC Grandiosa yesterday became the first ship from the MSC Cruises’ fleet to welcome guests back and the first ship to implement the Company’s health and safety protocol. The first guests began embarking MSC Cruises’ flagship in the port of Genoa, Italy yesterday morning, arriving at the cruise terminal according to their allocated time slots and followed the new universal screening procedures according to the Company’s own health and safety protocol, which includes a temperature check, medical review of a health questionnaire and an antigen COVID-19 swab test for every guest prior to boarding. After completing these steps and having received the results of the test while in the terminal, guests that were fit to travel then embarked the ship according to the new health and safety procedures, which includes sanitation of both hand and hold luggage.
All guests were given a complimentary MSC for Me wristband, which provides guests with contactless options while on board such as opening their staterooms or making payments. These wristbands will also help to facilitate proximity and contact tracing, if needed. Additionally, over the past several weeks, all crew members have gone through similarly stringent health screening measures, which included 3 COVID-19 tests in various phases as well as a period of isolation before commencing their duties. Each crew member will then be regularly tested and their health monitored.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO commented, “It is a real pleasure for me to be here and sail on board the first of our ships to return to service and to be able to welcome back our guests. Our main goal during these last months has been to put in place the right measures that will protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit. But at the same time, we have worked to ensure that we are able to provide our guests with a cruise holiday that they can enjoy and still experience all of the elements that they know and love from entertainment and activities on board through to protected ashore visits.”
Following the embarkation of the new guests today in Civitavecchia, more guests will also embark in the ports of Naples and Palermo. The ship will then call at Valetta in Malta before returning to Genoa on Sunday. Along the ship’s itinerary, guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy the different ports of call, but only as part of an MSC Cruises shore excursion as an added level of protection, so that their experience ashore follows the same high standards of health and safety as on board. Today, some of the guests will visit Rome — taking in all the attractions of the “Eternal City” — while traveling on sanitized transfers with social distancing in place, accompanied by tour guides and drivers who are also adhering to strict health and safety measures.
For this initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises’ ships operating in the Mediterranean — the second being MSC Magnifica in the East Mediterranean — for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries. In the U.S., MSC Cruises will only restart operations when the time is right, following approval by the CDC and other relevant authorities across the region in observance of their requirements and guidelines.
For more information about MSC Grandiosa as well as the new health and safety measures in place visit here.
(PRESS RELEASE)_U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (August 14, 2020) - In an effort to contain the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Virgin Islands is closing its doors once again to leisure visitors, effective Wednesday, August 19, 2020, for a period of at least one month.
Governor Albert Bryan Jr. announced Thursday that the Territory will revert to the “Stay-at-Home” (Orange alert) phase of its COVID-19 response, for the next two weeks, at which time it will be reevaluated.
According to the Territory’s chief executive, on Monday, August 17, 2020, all non-essential businesses and churches are ordered to cease operations and the public, including non-essential public sector workers, are ordered to stay at home.
Effective immediately, hotels, villas, Airbnb accommodations, guest houses, temporary vacation housing and charter vessels and similar businesses have been ordered not to accept or book any new reservations for 30 days. As of Wednesday, August 19, 2020, accommodations providers are barred from admitting or checking-in any guests for 30 days unless the order is lifted sooner.
Reservations may only be accepted for business travelers, flight crews, emergency personnel, and government workers with written authorization from the relevant government agency they are visiting.
Virgin Islanders in the Territory and abroad are encouraged to travel only for urgent matters to help limit the contagion into and out of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Beginning Monday, August 17 and lasting until August 31 unless lifted earlier, all restaurants in the Territory can offer only takeout, delivery or drive-thru service. All bars, nightclubs and cabarets are to remain closed as long as the Territory remains in a State of Emergency.
“When we announced our COVID-19 alert system in May, I indicated at that time that we would retreat … to a more cautious state of alert if conditions warranted. Unfortunately, we have arrived at that point this week,” Governor Bryan said during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“The recent infiltration of the virus into our residential institutions that house vulnerable members of our population creates an alarming level of risk,” the Governor said. “This adds to the stress of the ongoing pandemic response that seemingly has no end in sight and is wearing out our health care and public safety infrastructure.”
St. Thomas residents who recently tested positive at a seniors’ residential facility have been reported to be asymptomatic or displaying only mild symptoms.
As of Thursday, there were 682 positive cases, 197 of which were active and 476 recovered. Nine deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic.
There has been a miraculous recovery of note - a visiting patient, who was sick and stranded at sea while working aboard a cargo ship. The Filipino sailor, who spent five weeks in a medically-induced coma, underwent 12 weeks of treatment at the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital’s COVID-19 unit before being repatriated to his native Philippines COVID-free.
“We appreciate the concerns of our tourism partners and stakeholders, however, with the recent spike in cases we are seeing, especially in the St. Thomas-St. John district, we must reset, take stock, safeguard human life, and prepare for restarting our tourism economy at a later date,” said Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte, as he spoke about the difficult but necessary decision.
Visitors or residents who have tourism-related inquiries are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the department's toll-free number at (800) 372-USVI (8784).
(PRESS RELEASE)_Seattle, Wash., Aug. 11, 2020 — With the continuation of travel and port restrictions due to global health concerns, Holland America Line is extending its pause of cruise operations and cancelling departures on all ships through Dec. 15, 2020.
The pause extension affects Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal, Pacific Coastal, South America, Antarctica, Hawaii, South Pacific, Australia and Asia itineraries.
Guests Automatically Receive Bonus Future Cruise Credit
Those with impacted cruises automatically will be cancelled, and no action is needed for guests opting for the Future Cruise Credit (FCC). All guests will receive an FCC per person as follows:
· Paid in Full: Those who had paid in full will receive 125% FCC of the base cruise fare paid to Holland America Line.
· Not Paid in Full: Those with bookings not paid in full will receive an FCC of double the amount of the deposit paid for the cruise. The minimum FCC is $100 and the maximum will be an amount up to the base cruise fare paid.
The FCC is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and may be used to book sailings departing through Dec. 31, 2022. All other funds paid to Holland America Line may be transferred to a new booking or will automatically be refunded via the method of payment used to purchase the services.
Full Refund Option Also Available
Guests who prefer a 100% refund of monies paid to Holland America Line can visit the Cancellation Preferences form to indicate this preference no later than Sept. 15, 2020.
The above options are not applicable to guests booked on a charter sailing. Other booking and cancellation conditions and policies may apply if the cruise was not booked through Holland America Line. See the terms and conditions in the Cancellation Preferences form for all details.
Recognizing the vital role travel advisors play in the success of the cruise industry, Holland America Line will protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full and for the total amount of the FCC when rebooked.
As previously announced, Holland America Line paused global cruise operations and cancelled all Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England cruises for 2020; additional departures from the port of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 2020; and select Hawaii itineraries for early 2021.
For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel advisor, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.
(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, August 10, 2020 – Crystal announced today the expansion of its Crystal Clean+ safety and health protocols to the sister ships of Crystal River Cruises, recently named the World’s Best River Cruise Line by the readers of Travel + Leisure. The Crystal River Cruises’ initial set of Crystal Clean+ protocols, considered the 2.0 version of Crystal’s already stringent health and safety policies, were developed with the latest data from health experts to meet the unique challenges posed by COVID-19, and will be continually evaluated and adjusted as new information becomes available. Crystal is committed to being in full compliance with all local regulations set by the European cities and states the ships visit. The protocols comprise enhanced cleaning procedures; social distancing and facial covering requirements; health monitoring for guests and crew members; new streamlined embarkation procedures; shoreside partner collaborations and more.
“We are looking forward with great anticipation to welcoming our guests back aboard and are working to ensure their wellness and peace of mind when that day comes,” said Walter Littlejohn, senior vice president and managing director of Crystal River Cruises. “Crystal Clean+ is an extension of the exceptional standards to which Crystal has always adhered, augmented with the best scientific data and expert guidance currently available.”
The Crystal Clean+ protocols for the Crystal River Cruises’ fleet includes but is not limited to:
Pre-Boarding & Embarkation
Additional precautionary steps taken in the weeks, days and hours prior to boarding will help streamline and safeguard the embarkation process for all guests and crew.
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