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Sept. 9 update: MSC cleared for Canaveral, Crystal replaces world cruise, Azamara adapts

PHOTO: CONRAD SCHUTT CRUISE_MSC_Divina_Ocean_Cay_Photo_Conrad_Schutt.jpg
MSC Divina will become the first MSC Cruises ship to sail from Port Canaveral. Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, pictured here, is a featured destination
Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-recovery cruise news.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared MSC Divina for its conditional sailing certificate following the completion of a simulated voyage last week. This will make MSC Cruises’ 11th ship to resume cruising globally and the brand's first to sail from Port Canaveral.

MSC Divina follows MSC Meraviglia's resumption from the US (PortMiami) in early August.

All MSC cruises from the US carry vaccinated crew who are also tested weekly. Passengers 12 and up are required to be vaccinated, too, plus all cruisers must present a negative COVID test taken prior to embarkation.

Crystal replaces 2022 world cruise

Crystal Cruises unveiled its 2022 'Grand Voyage, Caribbean Idylls & Mediterranean Masterpieces,' a 132-night odyssey on Crystal Serenity from Miami to Los Angeles, Jan. 17 to May 29.

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This replaces the line’s 2022 world cruise, which was canceled because many countries remain uncertain of their ability to welcome travelers at this time.

The new, destination-rich itinerary includes 82 ports in 32 countries with 11 overnight stays at places like Istanbul, Monte Carlo, Naples, Cannes, St. Barts, Madeira and the Canary Islands.  Destinations include the Caribbean, Morocco, the Cote d’Azur, the Amalfi Coast, the Greek Isles, the Black Sea and the Holy Land.

A standout feature is the number of islands, 45 in total, including 19 in the Caribbean, and a rare immersive exploration of the Canary Islands with calls at six of the seven main islands and an overnight at Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Other island explorations include the Cape Verde Islands, the Azores, Madeira, Gibraltar, the Balearic Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Crete, Cyprus, the Greek Isles and Bermuda.

The voyage is also available in 11 segments of nine to 16 nights. 

Passengers 12 and older must be fully vaccinated for all of Crystal's 2022 ocean voyages including those embarking at Miami. Crystal said 100% of its officers and crew fleetwide will continue to be vaccinated in 2022 as a requirement for employment.

Azamara adapts

Azamara completed its first Greek Isles cruise as an independent company, with Azamara Quest passengers participating in new offerings like Destination Celebration in Rhodes. This adaptation of the shore-based AzAmazing Evenings brings the culture and heritage of the destination to life on board and is designed with the health and safety passengers and crew in mind.

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Azamara Quest's Destination Celebration in Rhodes

Hosted on the pool deck, the new evening event featured music by Duo Violins with accompanying orchestra and a singer, as well as six Greek gods in their respective dress and insignia. Passengers were presented with a gift of Greek olive oil, olive soap and oregano.

New shore excursion programming included 'Tracing the Origins of Zorba,' which transports participants on a journey outside the walls of Heraklion to Myrtia to learn about the life of Nikos Kazantzakis, who wrote Zorba the Greek. A visit to the museum dedicated to his work was followed by a private lunch in Archanes Village with traditional Cretan cuisine and dancing.

Azamara also took a new approach to the traditional muster drill with a five-minute video conducted as soon as passengers embark and before they enter their stateroom. The videos are staggered, allowing for social distancing.

Azamara is sailing with vaccinated crew and passengers and tests everyone for COVID-19 prior to embarkation. 

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