(8:45 a.m. EDT) – Crystal Cruises first brand-new luxury expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor, has launched, sailing itineraries in Iceland.
The maiden voyage for the 200-passenger ship left Reykavik on July 17, sailing the first of five round-trip Iceland itineraries. The ship is carrying fully vaccinated passengers and crew, and COVID-19 tests were required at embarkation. Because they are vaccinated, guests are permitted to explore independently in Iceland.
“This is an incredible moment for the entire Crystal Family as we watch Crystal Endeavor embark upon her maiden voyage,” Crystal President Jack Anderson said in a release.
“Our new expedition yacht will take our guests further than ever before on bold adventures to the far corners of the globe and offering explorations, enrichment and immersive experiences beyond anything they’ve experienced before. The ship features spaciousness, personal service and luxury for our guests with safety and responsible stewardship of the world’s oceans at the forefront.”
Crystal Endeavor boasts PC6 polar classification, which allows it to travel to the Arctic and Antarctica. The expedition vessel has 18 Zodiacs, a fleet of 14 sea kayaks, snorkel gear, and a six-guest submarine and two helicopters.
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The ship was originally intended to launch in June 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed the timeline. It is part of a wave of new luxury expedition vessels coming from different cruise lines, as people with hefty budgets seek to fulfill their bucket lists in more and more comfort.
To that end, the ship's 100 suites feature king-sized beds, flat-screen TVs, walk-in closets and amenities like heated storage for drying parkas and spa-esque bathrooms with heated floors, anti-fog mirrors and rainfall showerheads. Crystal Endeavor has six restaurants, plus room service.
All ports on Crystal Endeavor's Iceland cruises have complimentary excursions led by naturalist experts The ship's expedition team includes a marine biologist, ornithologist, geologist/glaciologist, historian, two professional photographers, polar expedition specialists and an artist-in-residence.
Cruise Critic members are onboard the inaugural sailing and are posting photos from Iceland – follow along.