Family island communities where Crystal Cruises plans to visit on its all-Bahamas itinerary have warmed up to the idea of having the cruise line visit, after some initial opposition from some residents on Exuma and Harbour Island, Corporate Manager for Crystal Cruises Kevin Jones told Guardian Business yesterday, explaining that the cruise line has met with some of the communities they plan to visit and have outlined their plans.
Jones said once those initial detractors heard what kind of cruise line Crystal Cruises is, they became excited about the prospect of welcoming its ship in July.
According to Jones, Crystal Cruises’ ship has only 900 luxury staterooms and caters to high-end clients.
He explained that the cruise vessel is the most spacious vessel on the market and will have more health professionals per passenger than any other cruise line, to ensure guest safety.
Crystal’s all-Bahamas cruise, which will home port at the Port of Nassau and in Bimini, starts at $2,000 per person, according to the company’s website.
Jones added that the company has a loyalty program with more than 200
members, some of whom have cruised between 50 and 100 times with them.
“We have such an emphasis on service that they trust us,” Jones said.
“We selected locations in The Bahamas that are off the beaten path, that offer a unique type of curated experience and so the feedback we’re getting from our customers is, ‘we know Crystal, Crystal knows us, so we trust that you have chosen locations and itineraries that meet the high standard of luxury that we have come to expect’.”
The all-Bahamas cruise was sold out as soon as it went on offer, Jones said.
The cruise vessel will visit islands like Harbour Island, Great Exuma, San Salvador, Long Island and Bimini on its seven-night itinerary.
Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) Joy Jibrilu told Guardian Business yesterday that Crystal Cruises’ vessel will be provisioned only in Nassau.
Jones added that the ship’s trash will only be offloaded in Nassau by a local company.
“We’re not bringing anything off of those cruise vessels in the Family Islands other than water,” he said. “We are literally not bringing anything to the Family Islands other than opportunities.”
According to Jones, Crystal Cruises will also not allow all of its guests to congregate on the islands all at once. He explained that two tender boats will take only 60 passengers at a time over a 12-hour period to ensure social distancing.
“We have what’s called capacity control,” he said.
And to allay environmental concerns, Jones said the cruise line has already negotiated pre-approved anchor locations, though he said in some instances the ship will not have the need to drop anchor.
Jibrilu said some individuals on the Family Islands that will be visited by Crystal Cruises have begun to organize tours and excursions that will be curated by the company to ensure they meet their strict requirements.
Jones said the company is offering assistance for entrepreneurs who have ideas and may not have the capital to execute. He said information on that opportunity can be found on Crystal Cruises’ website.
Jibrilu touted the new relationship with Crystal Cruises as an opportunity the ministry has looked for for a long time.
“What was attractive for the Ministry of Tourism about partnering with Crystal Cruise lines is, for many years within the ministry a strategic objective was to have home porting and also a Bahamas cruise, but we know that given our environmental concerns and how special our country is, from an environmental standpoint it could not just be any cruise partner,” she said.
“And so to find a cruise partner that meets the demographic of the typical visitor to a high-end vacation is exciting for all of us.”