ATHENS – On the heels of announcing the resumption of operations beginning on May 29th with the Celestyal Crystal, Celestyal Cruises the award-winning, number one choice for cruise travelers to the Greek Islands and the Eastern Mediterranean, announced on April 8 that it will deploy a second ship, the Celestyal Olympia.
The expanded deployment coincides with the recent positive announcement from the U.S. CDC regarding international travel for Americans. With more than seven new or reinstated direct flights between the U.S. and Athens from early June, getting to Greece is more accessible than ever. 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 “Legendary Archipelago” itinerary will operate from June 28 through August 30. As of August 30, the Celestyal Olympia will operate her 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 with all-inclusive pricing starting as low as $1019, per person. All departures will be available for booking as of April 9.
Celestyal is the only cruise line calling on a regular basis to Thessaloniki. It is the second largest city in Greece and offers guests 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. Guests can also take advantage of 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 back 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 and painters and its 80 windmills that dot the island’s villages.
The Lavrion Port & Marina is a similar driving time from the city center as the Piraeus Port. Celestyal will occupy a dedicated terminal facility at Lavrion, which will provide an enhanced and expedited embarkation and disembarkation experience for guests. The dedicated terminal will allow for the thorough implementation of Celestyal’s comprehensive and enhanced health protocols.
Greece has announced that as of mid-May it will welcome U.S. travelers back as long as visitors provide proof of vaccination, or 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 as to the waiving of this requirement for those that have been 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 U.S. CDC has just released new 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 3 to 5 days after returning from international travel. Celestyal Cruises will have PCR testing available on board for all guests requiring such, at their cost prior to disembarkation.
“We are greatly encouraged by the success of the vaccine roll-out in the U.S., one of Celestyal’s largest and important source markets. We are also thrilled with the positive progress of the safe and healthy reopening of Greece and cruising in May building on last year’s successful partial deployment of cruises in Greece. It is not surprising that we are witnessing a strong increase in U.S. demand as a result,” said Leslie Peden, chief commercial officer. “We pride ourselves on being the award-winning regional expert in destination and experience-led cruising that can be nimble in times like this. 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.”
At Celestyal Cruises, our highest priorities are compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew and the communities we visit. As a member of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), we have pledged our commitment to adopt mandatory core elements of enhanced health protocols as part of a phased-in resumption of cruise operations. Informed by leading scientists, medical experts, European and Hellenic health authorities, these protocols apply to the entire cruise experience. Our health and safety measures will be continuously evaluated and adjusted based on the current evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe as well as the availability of new prevention, therapeutics, and mitigation measures.
For more information or to book visit: https://celestyal.com/us/.