Time to shine after the Covid-19 pandemic

Time to shine after the Covid-19 pandemic
Crystal River Cruises’ vessels have resumed service on the Rhine

In a post-pandemic world, there’s no doubt that luxury cruise ships have certain advantages over mainstream lines, namely fewer passengers and an abundance of space. The luxury sector has certainly not been immune to the challenges of the past 18 months, however, but thanks to the loyalty of Crystal’s guests and crew, the line’s president Jack Anderson is optimistic about the future.

“This has been an unprecedented time in the cruise industry as we continue to deal with the impacts of Covid-19,” he says. “However, we are blessed to have the most loyal following of guests and the devotion goes both ways. We refer to ourselves as the Crystal Family – the meaningful connections between our guests and crew are one of the things I love most about Crystal.”

With things changing day to day, one of the greatest challenges, says Anderson, has been navigating the landscape of guidelines and regulations for each country and port.

“There has been a tremendous amount of collaboration with our destination partners to ensure that we are aligned on the requirements for each country, and that we are helping to manage the process and logistics for guests,” he explains. “We have learned that you must be flexible and ready to pivot to keep up with the changes. We have always worked closely with our shoreside partners, but we have found these close working relationships to be more critical than ever.”

The health and safety of everyone onboard, both guests and crew, is a top priority. Crystal has been working with the latest data and recommendations by health experts, introducing multilayered protocols which are under continual review based on scientific data from local and global authorities.

“We have intently focused on implementing our stringent Crystal Clean+ protocols that address the unique challenges of Covid-19, with measures including mandatory vaccination for crew and guests 12 and older, antigen testing at embarkation, increased sanitation and more,” says Anderson. 

Effective immediately and until further notice, Crystal will require that all guests who are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine are to be fully inoculated at least 14 days prior to boarding its ships (including those sailing out of Florida). This is in line with the company’s policy for other departure ports in the USA and around the world.

Safely resuming operations has been paramount, and it’s shaping up to be a busy summer. Crystal Serenity was first to resume operations in early July, with a series of seven-day ‘Luxury Bahamas Escapes’ voyages calling on the Out Islands. “The decision to offer a single-country itinerary streamlined Covid-19 requirements for guests,” says Anderson.

Also in July was long-awaited polar-class luxury expedition yacht Crystal Endeavor’s maiden voyage from Reykjavík, Iceland. Crystal Symphony resumed operations in August with a series of seven-night voyages to Bermuda from Boston and New York. Crystal River Cruises also returned to service in August, offering seven-night Rhine and Danube itineraries.

But with travel still in recovery mode, passenger flexibility has been vital. “We offered reduced deposits and relaxed final payment and cancellation schedules, which provided added peace of mind,” says Anderson.“Luckily, there was tremendous pent-up desire to return to Crystal and we recorded the biggest single day of bookings in company history in March when we opened reservations for the ‘Luxury Bahamas Escapes’.” 

Anderson’s long-term focus is stewarding the lines’ post-Covid future, including deployments for 2023, 2024 and beyond. Crystal Endeavor will sail to Antarctica and the Northeast Passage, as well as the maritime route through the Russian Arctic which calls along the Siberian coast and features landscapes and wildlife that few have ever seen.

Anderson believes that luxury cruise travellers are amongst the most intrepid in the industry, and that the market will continue to grow.

“Cruising for them is non-negotiable, they consider it a part of their lifestyle. They love to travel, they crave the experiences and relish the luxurious amenities, Michelin-level cuisine and attentive service. An all-inclusive luxury cruise provides a level of service and wrap-around experience that is unlike anything else.”

Share this story

By Rebecca Barnes
22 November 2021

Theme picker