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World's largest cruise ship restarts sailings today

14 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas restarts cruises today after being shutdown due to the global health crisis.

Symphony may not be the first cruise ship to restart, but she is the largest cruise ship in the world, which is a significant milestone for the cruise industry.

Royal Caribbean has been slowly and methodically restarting its ships with a wealth of new health protocols and policies in place to protect guests, crew members, and the communities each of its ships visits.

All of the crew members will be fully vaccinated on Symphony of the Seas, and any unvaccinated guests (mainly children, according to the cruise line) will be subject to additional testing requirements and specific health protocols. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the ship to restart operations following a simulated voyage earlier this month, when the crew demonstrated the new protocols meet the agency's needs.

All passengers onboard, vaccinated or not, will need to take a Covid test before the cruise, and wear face masks in public areas onboard unless in a designated vaccinated-only zone.

While Symphony has a capacity of over 5,400 passengers, the ship will sail with significantly less guests while Royal Caribbean gets more ships back into service and evaluates its health protocols. While the exact number of passengers for the first sailing is not yet know, other Royal Caribbean ships have been sailing with just around 1,000 passengers at the most onboard.

Symphony of the Seas will depart today from PortMiami and embark on a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise that visits Cozumel, Costa Maya and Roatan.

Symphony is not the first Oasis Class cruise ship to restart. Sister ship Allure of the Seas was able to start up first earlier this month.  The two other Oasis Class ships will resume operations shortly as well.

Harmony of the Seas will depart Barcelona on Sunday, while Oasis of the Seas will resume operations from Cape Liberty in early September.

Some of the protocols for unvaccinated guests include being limited from accessing certain venues onboard, as well as being required to get travel insurance for sailings beginning in August.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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