Celestyal Cruises, the line that specializes in exciting cruise itineraries in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, will begin sailing again starting May 29 on its ship Celestyal Crystal.
Also, with more and more travelers seeking exotic cruise opportunities after more than a year of shutdowns, Celestyal Cruises will deploy a second ship, the Celestyal Olympia, to offer voyages on a new seven-night "Legendary Archipelago" cruise that departs from Athens and visits the idyllic Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Rhodes, as well as Limassol, Cyprus, and other fantastic destinations.
The decision to add this journey coincides with positive CDC recommendations regarding international travel for Americans.
Setting sail from Celestyal's dedicated terminal at Lavrion Port and Marina (Athens), located just 16 miles from the Athens Airport, the new, seven-night cruise on Celestyal Olympia will operate from June 28 through August 30. After that, the Celestyal Olympia will operate its scheduled three- and four-night "Iconic Aegean" and "Iconic Discovery" itineraries from Lavrion Port and Marina for the remainder of the season.
The new "Legendary Archipelago" itinerary will call upon Thessaloniki, Mykonos, Santorini, Agios Nikolaos (Crete) and Rhodes in Greece and Limassol in Cyprus. Celestyal is the only cruise line calling on a regular basis to Thessaloniki. The second largest city in Greece features stunning Paleo Christian and Byzantine monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, monuments to the famed Alexander the Great and the chance to explore the city's rich Roman and Sephardic Jewish heritage.
Thessaloniki is also known as a gastronomic paradise, serving as a crossroads for trade and drawing upon ingredients from all over the Mediterranean and Asia served in the city's renowned tavernas. The ship offers late-night departures in Mykonos and Santorini, providing the opportunity to enjoy extended days on these iconic and popular Greek isles.
Celestyal is also offering unique and fully immersive, organized excursions to nearby islands such as Delos and Tinos. Delos is the mythological birthplace of Apollo and a major religious and archaeological site and port dating to the First Millennium. Tinos is well-known to Greeks for its religious significance. On Tinos, both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic populations co-exist, and the island is also well known for its sculptors, painters and 80 windmills that dot the island's villages.
Celestyal occupies a dedicated terminal facility at Lavrion, which provides an enhanced and expedited embarkation and disembarkation experience for cruisers. The dedicated terminal also allows for the thorough implementation of Celestyal's enhanced health protocols.
As of mid-May, Greece will welcome U.S. travelers as long as they provide proof of being vaccinated or are certified to have COVID-19 immunity or a negative PCR test 72-hours prior to departure from the U.S.
Celestyal Cruises will also require a negative PCR test within 72-hours prior to embarkation of the cruise. The company is currently awaiting further guidance from the relevant health authorities for the possible waiving of this requirement for travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, Celestyal is working closely with the Greek health authorities in order to implement a crew vaccination program that will see the crew on both of Celestyal's vessels fully vaccinated prior to sailing.
The CDC released guidance related to international travel stating that fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without getting a COVID-19 test before travel unless it is required by the international destination. Fully vaccinated travelers must still have a negative COVID-19 test result before they board a return flight to the United States and receive a COVID-19 test three to five days after returning from international travel. Celestyal Cruises will have PCR testing available onboard for all passengers requiring such, at their cost prior to disembarkation.
"We pride ourselves on being the award-winning regional expert in destination and experience-led cruising that can be nimble in times like this," said Leslie Peden, Celestyal Cruises' chief commercial officer. "Being the only cruise line that can truly deliver Greek cruising the Greek way, we are extremely excited to continue to innovate with new, curated and immersive itineraries such as Legendary Archipelago and look forward to welcoming our American guests back to Greece this summer."
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