Remember when we said that you only had to wait until July for the much-anticipated cruising comeback? Thanks to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, you can actually get back in your cruise groove even quicker with their newly-announced cruises that will leave the docks as early as June.
As with the first-announced comeback cruises for Crystal Cruises, the new sailings from Royal Caribbean and its sister line Celebrity Cruises will be sticking to the Caribbean.
Starting on June 12, 2021, Royal Caribbean will take passengers back out to sea on Adventures of the Seas from its new round trip homeport of Nassau, Bahamas. Passengers can get their cruise groove back with seven-night itineraries that visit Grand Bahamas Island and Cozumel, Mexico. Passengers will also spend two back-to-back days at Perfect Day at Coco Cay, a private island in the Bahamas owned by the cruise line.
Can’t wait that long? Good news: Celebrity Cruises’ comeback sailings kick off a week earlier on June 5 with two different seven-night “Cruising the Caribbean” itineraries to choose from, both sailing round trip from St. Maarten. For those dreaming of a Caribbean getaway, the choice might be tough—either sailing to Aruba, Curacao, and Barbados, or heading to Barbados, St. Lucia, and Tortola (British Virgin Islands).
News of the comeback sailings was announced on Friday, March 19, just over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused ocean cruising to come to a halt via voluntary sailing pauses and the passing of the CDC’s No Sail Order, which banned large commercial cruise ships from U.S. waters and ports. Even though the order expired on Oct. 31, 2020, cruises have struggled to make their comeback or even announce a bonafide restart date for sailings in North America.
Cruise ships have been likened to floating Petri dishes for years, with their close quarters and isolated setup making it especially easy for viruses to spread onboard. Ensuring safe sailings has been the biggest challenge preventing ships from getting back out onto the water. However, as more vaccines become available and continue to make their way into the arms of a growing number of people, cruises appear to have finally been thrown a life raft.
“Returning to the Caribbean after more than a year away is such a significant moment for us,” said Celebrity Cruises president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo in a statement. “It marks the measured beginning of the end of what has been a uniquely challenging time for everyone. That we’re able to offer people the opportunity to safely vacation onboard the revolutionized Celebrity Millennium is incredible.”
Both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises announced that these new cruises would sail with a fully vaccinated staff. Royal Caribbean will also require all passengers 18 and over to be fully vaccinated and all passengers under 18 to provide a negative PCR test. These requirements are in addition to COVID-19 protocols that will also be present on the ship and port.
“The vaccines are clearly a game-changer for all of us, and with the number of vaccinations and their impact growing rapidly, we believe starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice. As we move forward, we expect this requirement and other measures will inevitably evolve over time,” said Michael Bayley, the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International in a statement.
Celebrity Cruises will also require all passengers 18 and over to be fully vaccinated. Any passengers under 18 years of age will need to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of embarkation.
Want to be one of the first cruisers back at sea? Bookings begin on March 24 for Royal Caribbean and March 25 for Celebrity Cruises. To get all the details for these historic comeback sailings or to book, check out the Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas website and Celebrity Cruises online.