Celestyal Cruises, the Cyprus-owned cruise company operating in the Greek islands and the eastern Mediterranean, is recommencing its cruise itineraries after the COVID-19 travel restrictions and port closures with the first sailing for the 7-night ‘Idyllic Aegean’ on April 24.
This will also be the maiden voyage for the recently purchased Celestyal Experience, previously the neoRomantica, that has a capacity for 1,578 passengers in 789 cabins.
Celestyal took advantage of Carnival Corp’s cruise ship sell-off last year to add a third ship to its fleet in July 2020 for an undisclosed sum.
The Experience is the fleet’s new flagship vessel, together with the Crystal and Olympia, reminiscent of the 1990s when Celestyal’s predecessor, Louis Cruise Lines, sailed throughout the Mediterranean and other cruise destinations aa its fleet peaked at 12 ships by 2009.
Most were chartered to other operators and the older vessels have since been scrapped.
The ‘Idyllic Aegean’ itinerary is being promoted in the UK market from GBP £599 per person and will include Athens, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Milos, Mykonos, and a return to the home port of Piraeus.
Celestyal said that the start of the season had initially been planned for March.
“Guests currently booked on the cancelled March and earlier April voyages will have the option to receive a refundable Future Cruise Credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the amount paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 20% of the actual cruise fare paid.”
Celestyal said it will allow guests currently holding FCCs as well as guests about to receive FCCs, as a result of the new recommencement date, the opportunity to apply the FCC towards Celestyal’s soon-to-be-announced 2023 itineraries in addition to 2021 and 2022 itineraries.
Dedicated terminal at Lavrion
As regards its other cruises, Celestyal said it will move its operations for the three- and four-night Iconic Aegean from Piraeus Port to the new, dedicated terminal facility at Lavrion Port and Marina, located 26 km from Athens Airport and similar driving time from the city centre as Piraeus Port.
“Lavrion is a historic small Greek town on the outskirts of the greater Athens area and just a 10-minute drive from the world-renowned site of the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion,” said Leslie Peden, chief commercial officer.
The first four-night Iconic Aegean will sail on April 26 while the three-night Iconic Aegean sailings will commence on April 30.
Celestyal said the dedicated terminal will allow for the thorough implementation of health protocols and ensuring that cruises operate in an unhindered fashion.
Celestyal is also expected to resume cruises to Cyprus, with the 7-night ‘Three Continents’ itinerary onboard the Celestyal Experience that will include Athens, Port Said, Ashdod, Limassol, Rhodes, Kusadasi and Athens.