Crystal has cancelled numerous launch season departures for its expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor, and a handful of upcoming European river cruise voyages.
The ultra-luxury cruise line has cited international border restrictions, as well as “ongoing challenges” related to COVID-19 for its latest decision.
Three sailings aboard the brand new polar-class ship Crystal Endeavor have been scuppered, as have a combined seven river departures on Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler.
Crystal Endeavor‘s maiden voyage on 17 July 2021 from Reykjavik remains on track, as part of the vessel’s deployment to Iceland that includes five 10-night sailings around the country. Two subsequent sailings from Tromso to London and from London to Lisbon in September also remain locked in.
However, there is now a five-week void in Endeavor‘s operation schedule until its inaugural Antarctica program, which is currently scheduled to commence from Ushuaia on 18 November 2021.
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“Like our guests, we are eagerly anticipating the day when the whole world will be ready for us to explore again. While we share in everyone’s optimism for the continued roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines globally, unfortunately at this time, differing international border restrictions and potential quarantine policies for various nationalities prevent us from operating upcoming itineraries,” Crystal said.
“It is therefore with deep regret that we have had to cancel select Crystal Expedition Cruises’ with departures between October 9 to November 6, 2021 voyages.”
The three abandoned voyages are from: Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro; Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires; and Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.
Crystal suggested those impacted guests may wish to defer to one of the earlier sailings or switch over to a Caribbean cruise on its Ocean ships, Crystal Serenity or Crystal Symphony.
Europe river consolidation
Crystal River Cruises is still forging ahead with plans to resume its European voyages from 29 August, saying it is “cautiously optimistic” in relation to the entry of vaccinated travellers to the European Union.
“It is important to note the adoption of these protocols by the individual EU member states that impact our multi-country itineraries is a critical next step, as the member states ultimately control the borders,” the cruise company said.
As a consequence, Crystal “with regret”, has decided to scrap four back-to-back sailings aboard Crystal Bach (between 30 August and 3 October 2021) and three on Crystal Mahler (from 29 August-19 September 2021).
Guests on the affected departures have been reaccommodated on identical sister ships Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, on either the same date and same itinerary, or reverse itinerary.
“We sincerely apologise to our guests for this disruption to their travels. All affected guests, and their travel advisers, were contacted directly with details of this cancellation along with their compensation and rebooking options. We encourage all affected guests to contact their travel advisor to assist them in selecting the future voyage/s of their choice,” Crystal said.
Crystal noted that it has “streamlined sales and bookings processes to include a relaxed final payment schedule at 60 days prior to first date of service” (normally 120 days), while also waiving its administration fee for all cancellations.
“We want to thank our guests and travel partners for their understanding during this transitionary time in travel,” Crystal concluded.
Meanwhile, Crystal Serenity has this week emerged from drydock after a soft refurb and is now en route to the Caribbean.