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Aug. 29 update: Oceania Cruises and Crystal river restarts, Windstar in Panama

A ribbon-cutting at the gangway ushered the first guests aboard Marina
Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-recovery cruise news.

Oceania Cruises' red-ribbon return

Oceania Cruises welcomed passengers for the first time in 524 days. Marina is the first in the fleet to resume sailing and the first cruise ship to embark at Copenhagen since 2019.

The first guests across the gangway cut a ceremonial red ribbon and were welcomed by Capt. Luca Manzi and Bob Binder, president & CEO of Oceania Cruises.

'Today is one of those days we will all remember for a lifetime as we reunite with our shipboard families and our guests to start exploring the world once again,' Binder said.

All Oceania voyages are operating with 100% vaccinated passengers and crew.

Marina will be cruising to Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland before passengers disembark at Stockholm. The ship will spend the rest of the summer and autumn sailing in Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Greek Isles prior to repositioning to Miami for Dec. 1 arrival.

Marina's resumption will be followed by Riviera, to embark in the Greek Isles on Oct. 18, and Insignia from Miami on Dec. 21, for a six-month 'Around the World in 180 Days' voyage. Sirena is to resume in the Caribbean Jan. 21, Regatta Feb. 5 in Polynesia and Nautica in the Mediterranean April 1.


Crystal Ravel crew welcomed passengers embarking at Vilshofen

Crystal Ravel and Crystal Debussy are back

Crystal River Cruises resumed operations with Crystal Ravel sailing today from Vilshofen, Germany, on a seven-night Danube itinerary with calls at Germany, Austria and Hungary, including overnights in Vienna and Budapest, and cruising of the UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley.

In Vilshofen, the officers and crew welcomed travelers after a nearly 18-month pause in operations.

On Monday, sister vessel Crystal Debussy is set to embark from Basel on a seven-night Rhine itinerary with calls at Switzerland, France, Germany and Netherlands and overnights in Koblenz and Amsterdam.

'The effortless luxury and relaxation of river cruising seems perfectly designed for the moment in which we find ourselves, allowing our guests to escape to a world of natural beauty along Europe’s rivers, highlighted by great art, architecture and history, and with unique opportunities for cultural immersion to create cherished memories of a lifetime,' said Walter Littlejohn, SVP and managing director, Crystal River Cruises.

Crystal River Cruises requires all passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated; this policy allows guests to explore ashore independently.

2021 deployment — 32 voyages of seven to 11 nights — reflects a gradual return of service and the consolidation of sailings from Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler to similar voyages on their identical sisters, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel.


AMP Secretary General Elvia Bustavino welcomes Star Breeze Capt. Ricardo Pinzón, a Panamanian

Panama welcomes homeporting Star Breeze and its Panamanian captain

Officials were on hand for Saturday's turnaround of Star Breeze at Colón, Panama, taking special pride that the ship is commanded by a Panamanian, Capt. Ricardo Pinzón.

At Colón's port of Cristóbal, the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) embarked a first officer and five Panamanian crew members, and AMP Secretary General Elvia Bustavino expressed pride that Windstar choose Panama for homeporting.

The AMP is promoting job opportunities for seafarers by providing high-level professional training.

Also present at the event were the Colón provincial Gov. Irasema de Dale, Colón Mayor Alex Lee, Deputy Administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority Denise Guillén Zúñiga, Director of the General Directorate of the Seafarers Capt. Juan Maltez, Director of the General Directorate of Ports and Auxiliary Maritime Industries Flor Pitty, Deputy Director of the National Migration Service María Isabel Saravia and officials from the Ministry of Health and regional and maritime health authorities.

As earlier reported, Star Breeze was the first back since Panama's cruise shutdown on March 13, 2020, calling at the San Blas Islands Thursday then Bocas del Toro Friday.

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