Crystal Cruises just made another controversial announcement. They have stated that vaccinated passengers traveling to the Bahamas aboard Crystal Serenity this summer will be allowed to tour the nation independently, as long as the country’s safety procedures are being followed.
Crystal Cruises made this announcement on their website. This breaks with mandates many cruise lines have in place that only allowed passengers to go ashore on ship-sponsored excursions.
“As the COVID-19 vaccine is now a requirement for travel with Crystal, guests will be permitted to explore independently ashore relating to the new Luxury Bahamas Escapes voyages,” the guidelines read.
“Crystal guests will be expected to follow all of the destination’s local guidelines pertaining to masks, social distancing and other precautions including frequent handwashing. Crystal guests should visit The Bahamas’ website for further details on their health and safety protocols.”
This change will likely be welcomed by those who have already booked passage and hope to explore all that the Bahamas has to offer. The new Bahamas cruise will leave from Nassau and Bimini and include smaller islands that cruise ships don’t usually visit, such as Harbour Island and Great Exuma.
The new Crystal Cruise line announcement has been met with opposition. Many in Exuma are angry at the decision, stating that mass tourism will diminish the luxury, exclusive tourist destination the region has become. There is also a question of whether these smaller family islands have the infrastructure to support hundreds of people descending on them at one time, especially if visitors can now do so independently.
The new cruise line was also questioned as the government made the decision independently without any discussion or input from those that would directly be impacted by it. Due to the push back, there are now discussions as to whether Exuma and other smaller regions will still be included.