MIAMI — After more than a year’s pause in U.S. waters, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have at long last announced their return to service from U.S. ports starting next month.
The news follows Royal Caribbean’s previously announced plans to resume sailings from the Caribbean in June, as well as to Alaska from Seattle in July and August. Carnival Cruise Line, meanwhile, announced last week that it had been granted CDC approval for its port agreements for PortMiami, Port of Galveston and Port Canaveral.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE
Carnival Cruise Line plans to return to guest operations from Port of Galveston on July 3 with Carnival Vista, followed by the return of operations on Carnival Breeze on July 15.
These cruises are available to guests who have received their final dose of a CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the cruise and have proof of vaccination, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
“We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies. However, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us. As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
The other ship and port identified for a July restart is Carnival Horizon from PortMiami. Carnival will provide an update this week concerning protocols specific to these sailings to all booked guests.
Carnival will also be advising guests and travel advisors about its plans for August sailings in the coming days.
Royal Caribbean has confirmed that six of its ships will begin sailing from major U.S. cruise ports in Florida and Texas in July and August. The line’s comeback will kick off on July 2 in Miami with Freedom of the Seas embarking on a special Fourth of July weekend sailing to Perfect Day at CocoCay.
By the end of August, 12 Royal Caribbean ships will once again cruise across The Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska and Europe.
“This is it. Vacationers can finally plan to take their precious time off this summer and truly get away after what has been a challenging time for everyone,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Thanks in large part to the successful rollout of vaccines, the world of adventure is beginning to open up and we are all excited to start delivering great vacations to our guests, who have increasingly told us they are getting vaccinated. As of today, 90% of all vacationers booking with Royal Caribbean are either vaccinated or planning to get vaccinated in time for their cruise.”
On the heels of its return to the U.S. will be the debut of the brand new Odyssey of the Seas on July 3. The ship will set sail from Fort Lauderdale on new six- and eight-night Caribbean cruises, soon to be followed by Allure, Symphony, Independence and Mariner of the Seas. IN the coming weeks, Royal Caribbean will announce plans to reintroduce its full fleet around the world by year’s end.
The 2021 summer cruises are now available to book. The full summer lineup is as follows:
- Freedom of the Seas: 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Miami, starting July 2
- Odyssey of the Seas: 6- and 8-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, starting July 3
- Serenade of the Seas: 7-night Alaska sailings from Seattle, starting July 19
- Allure of the Seas: 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 8
- Ovation of the Seas: 7-night Alaska itineraries from Seattle, starting Aug. 13
- Symphony of the Seas: 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Miami, starting Aug. 14
- Independence of the Seas: 7-night Western Caribbean sailings from Galveston, Texas, starting Aug. 15
- Mariner of the Seas: 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 23
Travellers and travel agents should take note that Freedom, Odyssey, and Independence of the Seas’ 2021 summer sailings are that of existing itineraries for the following ships: Navigator, Independence, Explorer and Liberty of the Seas, respectively. Guests booked on these ships will be automatically transferred to the new ship.
The expanded summer lineup will go beyond the U.S. to include international ports across the Atlantic, like Barcelona and Rome, when Harmony of the Seas returns to Europe. Starting Aug. 15, the Oasis Class ship will set sail on 7-night itineraries to the Western Mediterranean and visit destinations like Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Provence, France.
The new U.S. and Europe cruises extend Royal Caribbean’s previously announced plans to return to sailing, which include Adventure of the Seas departing from The Bahamas on June 12 as well as Anthem of the Seas out of the U.K. and Jewel of the Seas from Cyprus in July. The complete list of Royal Caribbean’s 2021 cruises is available here.
While crew members will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Royal Caribbean is strongly recommending the same for guests, if they are eligible for a vaccine. Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date. Other measures in place in order to cruise with Royal Caribbean include:
- Guests sailing to Alaska who are 16 years of age or older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and those 12 or older as of Aug. 1
- If departing from an international port, guests must meet the travel requirements of their home county and the country of departure (policies can be found online on each country’s tourism site)
Cruises outside of those announced above will be cancelled through the end of August. Booked guests impacted and travel partners will be contacted with further details, including the option to receive a full refund. All guests who have booked by July 31 are covered by the ‘Cruise with Confidence’ program.