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Sept. 21 update: Crystal vaccine mandate through 2022, cruising returns to Rotterdam, Marseille picks up, Santander recovery

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Crystal extended its fleetwide vaccination mandate through 2022 for all crew and vaccine-eligible passengers. Here, Crystal Symphony
Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-recovery cruise news. This is being updated throughout the day.

Crystal extends vaccination mandate through 2022

Yesterday, Crystal River Cruises extended its COVID-19 vaccination mandate through 2022. Today, the same policy was announced for Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony and expedition ship Crystal Endeavor. This applies to all crew and age-eligible passengers (currently 12 and older).

'Our guests have overwhelmingly told us that vaccinations are critical for them to feel comfortable traveling and announcing this extension now will give them the information and reassurance they require as they look to plan future voyages with us,' Crystal President Jack Anderson said.

Passengers will need to provide documentation of vaccination at check-in before boarding the ship. Children 11 and under who are not currently eligible for vaccination must be pre-approved after initial waitlist, are subject to capacity control and must provide proof of travel insurance.

Travelers with unvaccinated children will be subject to unvaccinated protocols with their children. Once vaccines are approved for age-eligible children, Crystal will require they be fully vaccinated, too.

The company said it will assess whether a booster shot for all crew and passengers will be required once more information is available.

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Cruise Port Rotterdam revives

Phoenix Reisen’s Artania today became the first vessel to call at Cruise Port Rotterdam since March 2020. 

A spokesperson for the port said that since the start of the pandemic, Cruise Port Rotterdam has 'helped the industry with technical calls, repatriation and vaccination of crewmembers.’ 

More ships are set to call at the port in early October.

Marseille restart in full swing 

The Port of Marseille anticipates a peak in cruise traffic next month with some 60 calls expected; between September and December, a total of 136 calls are scheduled with the comeback of American passengers at the end of September.

Among the lines that will be calling are Ponant, Oceania Cruises, AIDA, Norwegian Cruise Line, Viking and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the latter three maiden calls.

MSC Seaside, MSC Seashore, Costa Smeralda and Costa Firenze — which celebrated its maiden call at the port Sept. 18 — will call until November.   

New regulations spurred on by Marseille Provence Cruise Club and the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde in October 2020 mean access to the church is limited to four buses per company for half a day to better manage the flow of visitors.

Carrying mainly European passengers, Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Club Med docked in July and August, representing 32 calls collectively with five at the J4 – Port de la Joliette – for Club Med 2 and Sea Cloud.

The port’s ‘Blue Charter’ — a commitment to improve air quality in the area — has been signed by six new cruise companies since the start of the year: TUI Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd, Silversea and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent, Oceania).

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Santander officials gifted a plaque to Capt. Elmar Wilfried Muehlebach and books for Amera's library.

Santander festivities for Phoenix Reisen’s Amera

During Phoenix Reisen’s Amera call at Santander Sept. 18, officials gifted a plaque to ship Capt. Elmar Wilfried Muehlebach, together with a collection of books about Santander and Cantabria for Amera’s library. 

The officials included President of Cantabria Miguel Angel Revilla, President of the Port Authority Francisco Martin, Santander Mayor Gema Igual and Director General of Tourism Marta Barca.

Martin said the visit represented ‘an important step in the return to normality and in the recovery of traffic that supports the tourist industry,’ with Revilla highlighting that the rate of COVID-19 cases in Cantabria is beginning to fall, ‘which makes us look to the horizon with optimism.’ 

Igual stated, ‘This is one of the first milestones of recovery due to the economic impact generated by cruise ships.’ 

Santander Cruise Deluxe — the joint initiative of the port, Santander City Council and the government of Cantabria — stated it expects to see an increase in the coming months, as lines continue to plan new itineraries.

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