Crystal is to base a ship in Antigua for the first time as part of the luxury line’s cruise restart plans

Crystal Symphony will run 15 cruises from the island’s capital of St John’s between August 15 and December 23.

The ten-night itineraries include planned stops at Barbados, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, St Maarten and the British Virgin Islands. Additional ports may be added as more Caribbean islands open up to cruises.

Crystal Symphony’s return to sailing marks the resumption of service for 97% of the company’s ocean going fleet this summer.

The new Caribbean itinerary follows Crystal Serenity’s recently announced Bahamas sailings and Crystal Endeavor’s first departures from Iceland.

Agents are being offered $100 bonus commission with every booking on the three ships’ new itineraries.

Crystal Symphony will return to sailing with reduced capacity and passengers must be fully inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to boarding.

Cruise-only fares start at $2,999 with early booking discounts of up to $1,000 per passenger and spending credits of $200pp.

Antigua and Barbuda tourism and investment minister Charles Fernandez said: “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.

“Together with the local health authorities, we have developed the requisite health and safety protocols to ensure the protection of residents and our guests.”

The line’s interim president and chief executive Jack Anderson said: “The islands of the Caribbean are a warm welcome back to travelling the world, rich in fascinating history and the kind of natural beauty that astounds even the most seasoned travellers, and St John’s is an ideal home port to begin luxury journeys through such a paradise.

“These voyages are wonderful opportunities for our valued travel partners, as well, as they help their clients plan the luxury vacations they’ve been missing.

“This return to travelling the world is one we have all looked forward to, and Crystal’s ships offer more luxury options for discerning travellers, plus greater incentives for travel advisors.”

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.”