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Changing travel curbs force Celestyal to cut short summer season

Greek line Celestyal Cruises is cutting short summer sailings due to changing international travel restrictions.

Itineraries around the Greek islands by the ships Celestyal Crystal and Celestyal Olympia will end on August 28 and 30.

The company has also postponed autumn and winter cruises and plans to resume operations in March 2022.

Passengers booked on cancelled cruises from September to December will have the option of receiving full refunds or applying their deposits to 2022 or 2023 sailings with a 20% bonus value to be applied to their future sailing.

A company statement said: “The cruise line typically shifts to longer haul source markets in autumn and winter, which are the primary source for Celestyal’s popular shorter, three- and four-night itineraries.

“With the current travel restrictions in place, and the continuing evolution of additional restrictions coming into play across most source markets that typically sail later in the season, travellers have been less willing to take the necessary steps to travel this autumn and winter, especially for trips of shorter duration, and have indicated a clear preference to defer their cruises until 2022.

“For this reason, the company has decided to postpone its autumn and winter sailings and will resume operation in March 2022, as per the scheduled programme.”

The summer season been “an important first step in gradually returning to a more normalised operating environment following the pause of operations throughout 2020”.

Celestyal added: “The successful implementation of the more enhanced health, safety and security protocols agreed with the relevant health authorities and adopted by CLIA member lines have been instrumental in delivering a positive and memorable experience for both Celestyal’s guests and crew following a most difficult period.”

Chief executive Chris Theophilides added: “We are confident our decision to postpone the autumn and winter itineraries is the right one.

“Celestyal continues to draw a large portion of our guests from a number of global source markets that each have their specific preferred travel period, and it became apparent to us that these core markets have become less interested in being inconvenienced by the current and ongoing travel restrictions in place – particularly for shorter duration trips in the autumn and winter.

“At the start of the pandemic in 2020, we were one of the first cruise lines to pause our operation in reaction to the operating realities, and this is what we are also doing at this juncture.”

Celestyal recently released both its 2022 and 2023 itineraries.

Theophilides said: “In the coming months, we look forward to announcing new experiences to be enjoyed by guests in 2022 and beyond.

“We will also be launching a new reservations system for our travel advisor partners this autumn with enhanced self-service functionality.

“We are already seeing strong booking demand for next year as we set to begin our 2022 operating season in March and are very much looking forward to welcoming our guests back on board and continue delivering the unique Celestyal destination-focused experience in what looks to be an even more normalised environment.”

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