Crystal continues to be at the forefront of the cruise industry’s return as the company announced that Crystal Symphony will sail a series of 15 10-night Luxury Caribbean Escapes round-trip from St. John’s, becoming the first ship ever to homeport in Antigua. Beginning August 5 through December, including a holiday sailing on December 23, Crystal Symphony will visit the coveted island locales of Barbados, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago*, St. Maarten and British Virgin Islands, offering travelers tropical luxuries and ample wide-open spaces to discover the local cultures with plentiful air options from most major U.S. cities. Crystal Symphony’s return to sailing marks the resumption of service for 97 percent of Crystal’s oceangoing fleet in the summer of 2021. Reservations for the new Luxury Caribbean Escapes open on April 20, 2021.
“The islands of the Caribbean are a warm welcome back to traveling the world, rich in fascinating history and the kind of natural beauty that astounds even the most seasoned travelers, and St. John’s is an ideal home port to begin luxury journeys through such a paradise,” said Jack Anderson, Crystal’s interim president and CEO. “Minister Charles Fernandez and his team, and the local tourism businesses throughout the islands, have been working to renew travel to the islands safely and we are thrilled to partner with them to support economic growth in the region and to deliver the kind of luxuries and hospitality Crystal guests have been craving for the past year.”
He added, “We’re looking forward to welcoming our Crystal onboard family back, as well, as Crystal Symphony’s new itinerary, combined with Crystal Serenity’s Luxury Bahamas Escapes and Crystal Endeavor’s Luxury Iceland Expeditions will mean that nearly all of our Ocean crew members will return to work very soon and we know they are as excited about returning to the seas as our guests.”
“We are delighted to welcome Crystal Symphony and her guests to Antigua and the Caribbean, as this represents an important milestone in reinvigorating tourism here, as well as deeper support of our island communities’ economies as Crystal becomes the first cruise line to homeport on a scheduled basis in St. John’s,” said the Honorable Charles Fernandez, Minister of Tourism and Investment for Antigua and Barbuda. “Together with the local health authorities, we have developed the requisite health and safety protocols to ensure the protection of residents and our guests. With the continued commitment of the government of Antigua and Barbuda and our port operator, Global Ports (Antigua) Ltd., we are certain that Crystal guests will find themselves at home here, as our local businesses and tourism specialists share Crystal’s spirit of hospitality and relish sharing the rich culture and beauty of our islands with travelers.”
“To have Crystal Cruises as our new homeport partner is truly a milestone in Antigua’s cruise history and reaffirms our commitment to the development of our country’s cruise experience,” said Done Regis-Prosper, general manager of Global Ports (Antigua) Ltd. “We are very happy to play an integral role in restarting cruise travel in the Caribbean after this long pause. Having just completed construction of our fifth berth just in time for the start of the season developing our port health and safety procedures in collaboration with local health authorities, we’re prepared to welcome Crystal guests to this beautiful island.”
Crystal Symphony’s Luxury Caribbean Escapes** will take guests to the Caribbean’s most celebrated destinations, famed for their colorful boutiques; intriguing histories still showing Dutch, French, British and other global influences; innate spirit of outdoor adventure; and breathtaking shorelines of brilliant blue waters and powder-soft beaches. The itinerary spends overnights in St. John’s, Bridgetown and Phillipsburg, with sunset-sail-aways in Tobago, Castries and Tortola. While uniformly spectacular, each locale boasts its own character and highlights for Crystal guests.
St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda – With its UNESCO-listed English Harbour on the south coast and an enduring British heritage, St. John’s is the starting point for Antigua’s rich historic highlights, but it’s the 365 beaches – one for every day of the year – that make the island a picture-perfect destination.
Bridgetown, Barbados – The Barbados UNESCO-listed capital still wears its British history proudly, with significant sites throughout the city to appeal to history buffs. From the original Trafalgar Square and Broad Street’s bustling shops to the island’s famous rum, beautiful Botanical Gardens and Harrison Limestone Cave, there is much to discover beyond the crystal-clear sea.
Trinidad and Tobago – The tiny, relaxed half of this two-island nation is ideal for travelers seeking to connect with nature, offering rain forest hikes, spectacular dive sites and secluded bays and nature reserves. Pigeon Point Nature Reserve is a highlight here, offering 125 acres of pristine natural landscape, with boating, diving and wildlife observation opportunities.
Castries, St. Lucia – Vibrant color and Creole flavor are at the heart of the town, while toward the pristine beaches, travelers will find world-class scuba diving and lush surrounding forest punctuated by the UNESCO-listed towering green Pitons. Guests can also visit Sulphur Springs, the only volcano in the world where people can dive in for mud baths.
Phillipsburg, St. Maarten – This tiny land mass boasts a robust local culture that stretches beyond the predominant Dutch-French sides. Travelers here will find innovative fine cuisine, passion for the great outdoors and water sports of all kinds, as well as hiking and zip lining. With the extra day here, guests can also explore farther with a visit to neighboring Saba, the untouched “Queen of the Caribbean.”
Tortola, Roadtown, British Virgin Islands – The capital of the British Virgin Islands, Tortola is a haven for beachgoers and scuba enthusiasts, who will relish the shipwrecks to explore and will find rewarding post-hike views on bougainvillea-covered hills. A brief ferry ride takes travelers to Virgin Gorda, where The Baths’ granite boulders lay out an impressive geological wonder across the breathtaking beach.