Crystal’s luxury river cruises return to Europe
As European Union countries begin to reassess entry requirements for citizens of other countries, Crystal River Cruises has pledged to relaunch its ships on the rivers of this continent after an 18-month hiatus. The ship Crystal Ravel launched a seven-night itinerary on the Danube two days ago, crossing Germany, Austria and Hungary. Yesterday, the Crystal Debussy also left Basel for a seven-night Rhine itinerary through Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. The company is clearly betting that the borders will no longer close and that travelers will once again be able to celebrate special events during the holidays, including New Years Eve in Vienna or Amsterdam.
“After months of planning and preparation, we are delighted to welcome our guests once again on board to experience the attentive service and personalized care of our dedicated staff on cruises to the most beloved destinations of scenic rivers and waterways. Europe, “said Walter Littlejohn, Crystal senior vice president and general manager of River Cruises. “We know that our customers are also incredibly eager to rediscover the luxurious accommodations, Michelin-level cuisine and unparalleled social spaces on board our ships, and the enriching discoveries that await them ashore. The luxury and effortless relaxation of river cruising seems perfectly crafted for the moment we find ourselves in, allowing our guests to escape to a world of natural beauty along the rivers of Europe, highlighted by the great art, architecture and history, and with unique opportunities for cultural immersion to create treasured memories of a lifetime.
The company has rigorous health protocols in place, including cleaning procedures and requirements that all staff and passengers are vaccinated. Considering the incidence of transmission of COVID-19 on board ships, including a recent case of 27 cases aboard a Carnival cruise ship among those vaccinated, the cruise naturally still carries some risk, the This is why the CDC advises travelers who are not vaccinated and those at risk for COVID-19 complications to avoid cruises regardless of vaccination status. The agency also advises wearing a mask, pre-testing and quarantining after disembarkation.
In some cases, these notices are less stringent than those required by companies. Crystal delivers a comprehensive Crystal Clean + plan to passengers detailing onboard requirements including non-vaccination, antigen testing provided by Crystal, and specific requirements for each country visited during the itinerary.
Since the ships are all en-suite and carry fewer passengers – 106 – than ships of similar size, more individual space is provided for distancing. Outdoor space is also provided since all suites have balconies, though the time spent on Northern European vacation cruises wouldn’t be as long as it will be in the fall. And apart from the special procedures put in place due to the pandemic, all feature the hallmarks of Crystal’s elite service, such as butler service for all suites and open-room farm-to-table cuisine. . Currently, 32 seven- or 11-night trips with two and three-night stopovers are on offer for the remainder of 2021 along the Danube, Rhine and Moselle, featuring breathtaking landscapes such as Austria’s pastoral valley. of the Wachau and the Rhine. Gorge with cities like Budapest and Vienna. But, of course, as with everything associated with this virus, everything is subject to change if conditions warrant.