Royal Caribbean to Begin Sailing Again in June With Fully-Vaccinated Guests and Crew
Royal Caribbean plans to set sail again this summer after a year at anchor.
On Friday, the cruise line announced a new lineup of summer 2021 cruises, which are set to begin departing from the Bahamas in June.
The seven-night cruises will be manned by vaccinated crews, and all adult passengers will also need to be "fully vaccinated," the company shared in a press release. The trips will also be open to passengers under the age of 18 who have tested negative for COVID-19.
Additionally, all passengers will have to meet local COVID-19 travel requirements, which may include taking additional tests before and after arriving in the Bahamas.
"We are excited to get back to delivering memorable vacations in the Caribbean, gradually and safely," Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in a statement. "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."
Onboard, along with their entertainment and dining venues, the ship offers various activities, including dual-racer water slides, a surf simulator and a kids water park.
Additional health and safety measures will be announced at a later date.
"Royal Caribbean has long been a valued partner to the Bahamas, and we are thrilled to work with them on making Nassau their newest homeport," said the country's Minister of Tourism & Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar. "Cruising is a vital part of the Bahamas' economy and having Royal Caribbean and their guests return to our shores will contribute greatly to restoring and reactivating tourism. We have been preparing diligently for the last many months to ensure an experience that is equally safe and enjoyable."
Royal Caribbean's sister line, Celebrity Cruises, also announced that it would set sail again starting in June, also with fully-vaccinated adult passengers and crew.
In North America, cruise companies halted all sailings in the Caribbean last spring. Individual countries enacted stringent travel restrictions, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a "no-sail order."
At the time, several cruise ships across the world had become sources of major COVID-19 outbreaks.
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Royal Caribbean has been offering trips on their Quantum of the Seas in Singapore since late 2020. The "cruises to nowhere" have no port stops and are only available to Singapore residents.
Although the cruise line experienced a "false positive scare" last December, they've been able to avoid any outbreaks. The cruise line will continue offering the trips through June.
The CDC has not yet announced when cruises will be allowed to resume operation in the U.S.
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