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First photos from Odyssey of the Seas sea trials

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's next new cruise ship is somewhere in the North Sea conducting her sea trials, and we have our first look at her in action.

Odyssey of the Seas is undergoing her most rigorous testing yet by sailing around to properly vet the ship prior to being handed over to Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean shared photos of the ship in her sea trials, which began on March 14.

Sea trials are the one of the major parts of a new ship construction, where the ship is put through its paces to verify its systems are not only working, but can handle extreme conditions.

Everything from the ship's propulsion, to navigation, to engines are tested before it can be ready to join the fleet.

Once her sea trials are complete, she will return to Bremerhaven, Germany.

It is not clear how long sea trials will be exactly, as they can vary in duration. Sometimes one or two sessions are common.

Shipyard Meyer Werft is still in ownership, and once the sea trials are complete, hand over to Royal Caribbean is likely.

No official delivery date has been announced, but Royal Caribbean International Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Mark Tamis, said recently it could take place on March 24.

Odyssey of the Seas is a 169,000-gross-ton ship that measures 1,138 feet (347 meters) long and 135 feet (41 meters) wide.

She will begin sailing in May from Israel and sail the eastern Mediterranean throughout summer 2021.

Odyssey will then move to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in November and make her North American debut.

You will only be able to book cruise line shore excursions on Adventure of the Seas cruises

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has not released all the health protocols and changes for Adventure of the Seas restarted sailings from The Bahamas, but expect to only be able to go on cruise line shore excursions.

Other cruise lines around the world that have been able to restart cruises have done so with the limitation that guests may only go on cruise line sponsored tours in order to ensure guests are safeguarded from undue risk of exposure to Covid-19.

On the same day Royal Caribbean announced Adventure of the Seas would restart cruises in June from Nassau, Bahamas, the line also confirmed guests will only be able to disembark the ship if on a ship tour.

 Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed, told Cruise Industry News guests will be limited to Royal Caribbean excursions in Cozumel and Grand Bahama Island.

"With our own little bubble, we can really make sure the health and safety protocols are being followed."

Royal Caribbean's own Shore Excursions Health Acknowledgement confirms that only cruise line tours will be permitted, "guests are currently only permitted to book and participate in Shore Excursions which are selected and approved by Royal Caribbean Group."

In addition, guests booked on Odyssey of the Seas sailings from Israel received a list of terms and conditions for their sailings which also allude to the limitation of shore excursion options you can book.

Read moreHow to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion

Why limit shore excursions?

The origin of limiting shore excursion options goes back to the first cruise ships to restart sailings.

In an effort to create a travel bubble, MSC Cruises restarted sailings in August 2020 with the rule in place. They even refused to let a family back onboard that broke the rule.

In September 2020, the Healthy Sail Panel addressed shore excursions in their 74 recommendations for how to operate a cruise ship safely during the global health crisis.

The number 59 recommendation recommended limiting shore excursion options.

"During the initial return to sailing, cruise operators should only allow guests debarking from a ship at a destination port to participate in cruise line-sponsored or verified excursions as a way of limiting potential exposures in the destinations they visit."

The Panel did classify this recommendation as a temporary one, and something that could be modified or removed later when health conditions permit.

Read moreAre Cruise Ship-Sponsored Shore Excursions Really Safer?

Royal Caribbean Group CEO answers common questions about cruises restarting

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain posted a new video celebrating the restart of sailings on Adventure of the Seas, as well as answering the most common questions he is seeing.

Every few weeks, Mr. Fain has been producing videos for travel agents that seek to offer insight into where things are while the cruise industry remains shutdown.

The enthusiasm in Mr. Fain's voice and expressions was evident as he heralded the return of Adventure of the Seas and Celebrity Millennium to sailing in June.

In fact, Mr. Fain teased that more sailings from places outside the United States will be coming soon.

"It all reinforces the view that there's an enormous amount of pent up demand eager to cruise again. I expect that we will soon be announcing more such itineraries."

In addition, Mr. Fain highlighted the fact across the Royal Caribbean Group of brands, over 100,000 people have sailed with just ten positive cases.

"This is really our objective: few infections and certainly lower than would be expected in the surrounding community, all handled smoothly without ruining everybody's vacation, protection of guests and the surrounding community from a big spread of the virus."

"In essence, we've just had a hundred thousand test cruisers and demonstrated that the process works."

Addressing the hot topics

The bulk of the video is dedicated to hitting some of the common questions he has been asked.  

Here is a breakdown of these questions, and his responses.

When will cruises restart?

"The answer is, as I said before, we already have. Hundreds of thousands of happy cruises in various parts of the world. And it's fast growing with recent announcements of more such cruises, including the Caribbean."

"By the way, on average, our ratings on these cruises are seven points higher than our ratings were pre pandemic. Clearly, our guests are loving the experience."

Will vaccines be required to cruise?

"The answer to that is we don't know. We have announced three cruises that will require inoculations for all adults, and there are likely to be more."

"But each circumstance is different. And I would note that the cruises we are currently operating are operating without requiring vaccines. But the vaccines set the stage for whatever we do. And all of our efforts are designed to make our cruises safer than walking down Main Street, USA."

"The situation changes every day and we will be guided throughout by the science as it evolves and gets better and more accurate."

Read moreEverything we know about if Royal Caribbean will require a vaccine

What about the CDC's Conditional Sail Order and when will their next technical rules be issued?

"That's more complicated, but it's still very important."

"The CDC issued the Conditional Sail Order last October in an effort to provide a path for cruising to reopen in the United States. The CDC has an amazing responsibility throughout the United States, and we all know they're working incredibly hard to balance the risks of the disease while limiting the pain and suffering to society."

"As most of you know, the order called for several phases and for the CDC to issue detailed technical rules for each phase. The first of such technical rules was scheduled to be released in December, and many of you was asked when we expect to receive them. In fact, I would answer that the pace of science has simply overcome that process."

"When the Conditional Sail Order was written, there were no vaccines. The disease was on an upward trajectory and headed towards a terrible peak. Testing was less available and more costly and therapeutics were limited. In general, the situation looked very bleak back then."

"What a difference five months makes."

"Today, the vaccines and other measures have changed the trajectory from a steep climb to a dramatic fall. The pandemic isn't under control, but it is getting there and society is beginning to open up."

"I was thrilled when the CDC said that now that I'm vaccinated, I could play with my extraordinary grandchildren without a mask. I was over the moon when they said it was safe for schoolchildren to sit three feet apart instead of six. So we're making important and impressive progress."

"Last October, preparing for resumption of service based on extensive protocols made good sense. But today, a vaccine approach makes much more sense than this old protocol based approach."

"The vaccines are bringing down the incidence of Covid-19 in society. The testing enables us to catch cases early, and the preparation we're doing allows us to handle individual cases safely and simply."

"We don't know what the CDC is contemplating to address this very different set of circumstances. But just as they and other public health officials are doing elsewhere, we expect they will all adjust to the changes that have been and are taking place today."

"The Conditional Sail Order was a very positive step at the time, but that time has passed. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with health officials in the United States and elsewhere for the path forward under these new circumstances."

Miami-Dade Mayor asks CDC to allow cruise ships to restart

By: Matt Hochberg

Another politician has reached out to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) to get an answer on when cruises will be able to restart.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava sent a letter to CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, looking for a way for cruises to restart in July.

In the letter, Mayor Cava explained the critical role cruise ships play in the economy of South Florida, as well as the stringent protocols cruise lines have adopted to ensure they can operate in a safe manner.

In addition, Miami-Dade County pledged its support in working with the CDC, "to establish a plan to safely re-open the cruising industry."

"Restarting cruising is critically important to saving hundreds of thousands of good-paying American jobs, including thousands of unionized longshore (ILA and ILWU) positions. In Miami-Dade County alone, cruise activity generates approximately $7 billion and 40,000 jobs annually. It supports multiple sectors of the economy from ground to air transportation, food and beverage, lodging, manufacturing, agriculture, travel agencies, hotels, port services, and a broad range of industries that stretch across the U.S."

As stated in the executive summary from the last No Sail Order, one of the concerns the CDC has had is the spread of Covid by cruise ships among port personnel, and communities.

The Mayor said they are seeking to establish the first of its kind in the country on-site COVID testing lab in PortMiami.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava

"Our County is already operating under the health and safety protocols established by the CDC, with continued communication between PortMiami, the cruise industry, and the CDC Miami Quarantine Station."

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley thanked Mayor Cava on Facebook for her initiative, "Thankful for Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s partnership as we find our way back to service."

The Mayor of Miami-Dade County is one of many political leaders who has reached out to the CDC for answers on what is happening with regard to cruise ships getting approval to open back up again.

In December 2020, the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chair of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) sent a lettter to the CDC and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking why they have not received records related to decisions made surrounding the cruise industry.

Mayor Cava's predecessor Carlos A. Gimenez called on the CDC back in September to open up cruises.

Also in September, the Miami-Dade Tourism and the Ports Committee slammed the CDC openly for its slow response to cruise lines.

It looks like a Greek ferry company bought Majesty of the Seas

By: Matt Hochberg

Remember when Royal Caribbean announced it sold Majesty of the Seas in December 2020? We may know the owner now.

Royal Caribbean did not disclose the buyer at the time of the sale in December, but through maritime records it now appears we know the owner.

The listing for Majesty is now operator/manager of 'Eaglepower Shipping Ltd' aka SeaJets.

Read moreA last look at Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas

Seajets is a Greek/Cypriot ferry company that bought a lot of ships from British cruise line Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV).  SeaJets plans on sailing them in inter Greek trips or turning them around and selling to a third party.

Empress of the Seas has been purchased by Indian cruise Cordelia Cruises, but Majesty's owner has not announced its purchase.

When Royal Caribbean sold both ships, they did not disclose who bought it.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean sold two smaller cruise ships with enormous legacies

The ship was last spotted in Piraeus, Greece.

Majesty of the Seas was the last Sovereign Class cruise ship left in Royal Caribbean's fleet, and joined the fleet in 1992. 

Majesty has sailed a variety of routes in the Caribbean, having sailed from many homeports to different destinations.  Most often, she sailed from somewhere in Florida and offered short cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean.

She was only one of two Royal Caribbean ships to visit Cuba in the limited time Americans could visit the island.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley was vocal in his admiration and sorrow following the decision to sell Majesty and Empress of the Seas, "Saying goodbye to these two beloved ships is a major moment in Royal Caribbean’s history – one that is difficult but necessary."

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: March 21, 2021

By: Matt Hochberg

This was a busy week with Royal Caribbean news, and we have a summary of all of the news from this week to make certain you did not miss any of it.

This week we finally got the news we have been waiting for. Royal Caribbean announced it would restart Adventure of the Seas this summer from the Bahamas.

Adventure of the Seas will offer 7-night cruises from her new homeport of Nassau, Bahamas between June and August 2021.

All crew and guests above the age of 18 will need to be full vaccinated in order to come onboard. Children under the age of 18 with proof of negative COVID-19 test results are able to sail as well.

The new cruises on Adventure of the Seas will go on sale beginning March 24, 2021.

Read moreWhat you need to know about Royal Caribbean's new cruises from The Bahamas

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 398th episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, focusing on where Australia cruises are right now.

In this episode, we take a look at what is holding up Australia cruises from restarting and the latest cruise news from down under.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

New RCB Video: Why the cliché about cruise ships is totally wrong!

Have you subscribed to the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel? We share some great videos there regularly, all about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise! This week, we are sharing our latest video — Why the cliché about cruise ships is totally wrong! — and don’t forget to subscribe here.

Royal Caribbean will sail from the West Coast again!

Royal Caribbean will finally return to offering cruises from California for the first time in over a decade.

Navigator of the Seas will sail from Los Angeles in summer 2022 to offer sailings to the Mexican Riviera.

The new sailings will vary between 3-, 4- and 5-night itineraries to Catalina Island, California and Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – plus, select winter holiday 7-night sailings will feature overnights in the popular resort city.

Royal Caribbean’s new year-round adventures from LA will open for sale the week of March 29, 2021.

Cruise FAQ: Dining

By: Ashley Kosciolek

Let's face it: Dining is as essential to the cruise experience as the ocean itself. Despite the ubiquitous nature of food on cruise ships, passengers have plenty of questions about the logistics of it all.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is a compilation of the most frequently asked questions about dining on cruises.

How does dining work on a cruise?

All major cruise lines' ships include three types of dining in their cruise fares.

First, travelers looking for something quick and casual can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and between-meal snacks at the self-serve onboard buffet. It's free and generally includes several stations with a selection of cuisines. This option affords a ton of choice, making it great for picky eaters or cruisers with dietary restrictions.

Second, each ship will also have at least one main dining room (MDR), which offers less-casual waiter-served meals from a set menu each day.

The MDR is always open for dinner, and depending on the cruise line, passengers will have their choice of set seating or anytime dining (an assigned dining time at the same table with the same waiter each night, versus dining any time between set hours at the first available table). If you choose the former, you might also end up sharing a table with other cruisers.

Third, room service is available nearly around the clock on most ships. While most charge for deliveries between certain hours, breakfast is usually included in the price of your cruise.

You can order it by filling out the order form in your cabin and hanging it outside your cabin door before you go to sleep. (It's a nice service on port days when you might be crunched for time before early-morning excursions.) Keep a few small bills handy for delivery tips.

Just about every ship also has a number of alternative eateries onboard. The larger the ship, the more options you'll have. Although some are gratis, most come with additional costs. 

The culinary staffs on most mainstream cruise lines' ships are adept at catering to special dietary requirements. If you're a vegan or vegetarian, you've got food allergies, you keep kosher or you're on a special diabetic or low-sodium diet, simply let your cruise line know when you book your sailing, and the onboard chefs will work with you to come up with some tasty options.

Read moreTop Ten Royal Caribbean Dining Tips

Is dining free on a cruise?

As mentioned above, dining is free at the buffet and in the main dining room. Room service breakfast is also complimentary on most vessels.

Nearly all ships feature a selection of alternative restaurants, as well. While some are included in the price, others levy either a set per-person fee or a la carte charges. Check with your cruise line for more details and pricing.

Read moreWhat's included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare

Do I have to dress up for dinner on a cruise?

Each cruise line's dress code is different. Sailings used to be luxurious vacations where passengers yearned to dress to the nines, but that's often no longer the case. As such, many brands' formal nights have been made optional or downgraded to, simply, "elegant."

Usually voyages of a week or less in length will host one dress-up night, when passengers can feel free to wear anything from a sun dress or nice slacks with button-down shirts to ball gowns and full tuxedos. Longer sailings may have additional opportunities to get dolled up.

A standard rule of thumb is to avoid jeans on these nights, or you might be asked to dine in the buffet instead.

Otherwise, resort casual attire (including nice jeans) is acceptable. Most lines just ask that passengers refrain from wearing shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, swimwear and baseball caps to dinner at any time.

Read moreTen Royal Caribbean dining mistakes

Can I wear jeans to dinner on a cruise?

Yes, you can wear nice jeans (no holes) as long as it's not formal or elegant night. On those nights, jeans are not allowed in the main dining rooms on most ships.

Can you eat whenever you want on a cruise?

For the most part, food is available around the clock on most ships. Even in the middle of the night, you can order room service (for a fee) or pick up free late-night nibbles at the buffet or from the 24-hour pizza shops found on many vessels.

With the number of alternative restaurants available onboard and readily available cafe baked goods and soft-serve ice cream machines, there's almost always something to help you feel less peckish between meals.

For dinner, you'll be assigned to a specific time if you select set seating and choose to eat in the main dining room. Otherwise, you can make reservations at alternative restaurants for times that best suit you or roll up to the buffet or poolside barbecue whenever you'd like (during their hours of operation, of course).

Read moreHow to eat healthy while on a Royal Caribbean cruise

What happens to leftover food on cruise ships?

The people responsible for provisioning cruise ships have the logistics down to a science, so there's little waste.

Ships are equipped with extensive below-deck areas for dry storage, as well as freezers and refrigerators that keep everything at the appropriate temperatures so nothing spoils. Food ingredients left over from one sailing are simply used on the next one.

Leftover prepared food is disposed of in several ways, which include incineration, offloading in port as compost or fertilizer, and grinding it until it's liquefied enough to be released into the ocean (far away from land) as fish food.

Are drinks free on a cruise?

Basic beverages -- tap water, iced and hot tea, drip coffee, lemonade and some juices (with breakfast) -- are included in the price of your cruise.

Soda, bottled water, specialty coffees, smoothies, milkshakes, most juices, energy drinks and alcohol cost extra. If you plan to drink a lot of these, cruise lines sell beverage packages for a set per-person daily charge that can offer a cost savings if you drink enough.

You'll have to do the math to determine whether purchasing a package would be worth the money.

Read moreWhat drinks are included with your Royal Caribbean cruise?

Do cruises have room service?

Yes, all mainstream oceangoing cruise lines feature some sort of room service. Most offer basic breakfast items for free, but you might have to pay extra for fare from the expanded breakfast and all-day menus. Most late-night orders also incur nominal fees.

Although not required, it's polite (and appreciated) to tip a dollar or two to the person who delivers your order.

Read more25 must-read Royal Caribbean dining secrets

What you need to know about Royal Caribbean's new cruises from The Bahamas

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced it will restart cruises from Nassau, Bahamas on Adventure of the Seas and there are a lot changes and new policies to digest.

Royal Caribbean provided some important details surrounding these new sailings and what you should know about changes and other policies guests can expect onboard.

This information was up to date as of the writing of this post. Keep in mind policies can change, and I will do my best to keep this information updated.  

Who can book Adventure of the Seas from Nassau?

Guests of all nationalities and residencies are eligible to book. We are excited to welcome vacationers from around the globe.

What requirements are there to sail?

At this time, Royal Caribbean expects each guest will need to provide the following:

  • For guests 18 years of age and older, proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID -19
  • Proof of a negative SARS- CoV-2 RT-PCR test result for entry into the country where you are sailing from (age requirements vary by jurisdiction)
  • Completed Royal Caribbean Health Questionnaire, available in the app 24 hours before sailing
  • Typical travel documents, including passport or any visas as required by the departure country

The Bahamas requires a health visa, which ranges in price between $40-$70 per person. 

Do you need to get a Covid-19 vaccine to cruise?

At this time, guests 18 years and older are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID –19, along with all crew members onboard.

Each guest must submit proof of vaccination no later than boarding day, in the form of the original vaccination record document issued by either

  1. The country’s health authority that administered the vaccination (e. g., U.S. CDC's Vaccination Record Card)
  2. The guest' s medical provider that administered the vaccination.

Electronic vaccination records will only be accepted for residents of those countries where electronic documentation is the standard issued form (e.g., a unique QR code).

The vaccination record submitted to Royal Caribbean must show that the guest is fully vaccinated.

This means that the guest has completed the full cycle of required doses for the vaccine administered (e.g., received the second dose in a two- dose series), and that the guest has received the final dose at least 14 days before the sailing date.

What if I am unable to be vaccinated due to a medical condition?

Guests unable to comply with safety requirements due to medical disabilities should contact Royal Caribbean' s Access Department at (866) 592 -7225 or send an e- mail to [email protected].

What about masks, social distancing, and other protocols?

Royal Caribbean has not released those details yet.

Masks will be required onboard.

What would deny you boarding?

Royal Caribbean's Refusal to Transport Policy covers the non-exhaustive list of reasons why a guest may be denied boarding.

Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Prior to boarding, or at any time during the voyage, failure to comply with our safety and health policies
  • Failure to provide evidence of being fully vaccinated for COVID -19
  • Failure to provide truthful answers to our health questionnaire
  • Evidencing COVID-like symptoms, including but not limited to temperature readings that equal or exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit

A full refund will be processed for the individual who tested positive, as well as his/her immediate travel party if a positive test result occurs within three weeks of the sail date.

What happens if you test positive for Covid-19 during the cruise?

In the event that a guest tests positive during his/her cruise vacation, a full refund will be  administered for the impacted guest, as well as those individuals within his/her immediate travel party.

Additionally, guests that test positive for COVID-19 during the cruise or are deemed a close  contact of someone who has, Royal Caribbean will cover onboard medical treatment, cost of any required land -based quarantine, and travel home for the affected guest and his/her travel party.

What is the definition of a travel party?

Royal Caribbean defines "traveling party" as it can include guests traveling in the same stateroom or reservation, guests traveling in multiple staterooms or as part of multiple reservations; as well as guests we determine to be legally or socially related or proximate in any way, at any time prior to or during the voyage, for any duration of time.

It is important to note that contact tracing may deem you or someone in your travel party a "close contact" of another guest outside your travel party if you were within 6 feet (2 meters) of them for at least 15 minutes in the preceding 48 hours.

If you are found to meet this contact threshold, certain actions may be required for your safety and the safety of your fellow guests.

What if I don't like these new health protocols and want to cancel?

If the booking was made on or before May 31, 2021, it qualifies for the Cruise with Confidence program, meaning that the guest can opt to cancel up to 48-hours prior to the sail date in exchange for a 100% Future Cruise Credit to be used at a later date.

What you need to know about testing and check-in

It is likely that a rapid polymerase chain reaction (RT -PCR) test for SARS- CoV-2 will be required prior to boarding and obtain a negative result. Royal Caribbean will update booked guests via email and text message, in the 30 days prior to sailing, to reinforce the latest requirements for the designated departure port.

Should a fever or other symptoms of illness be apparent while at the terminal, this could result in a denial of boarding for the ill guest, as well as those in his/her traveling party. Given this, we strongly encourage all guests to monitor their health in the days leading up to the cruise and cancel or change plans if symptoms of illness should arise. Should boarding be denied at the terminal due to a positive SARS- Co V-2 test, and/or because active communicable disease symptoms are demonstrated, the
affect guest and his/her travel party will receive a full refund.

A separate check-in flow and lounge area in the terminals will remain available for Suite guests.

With fewer guests, staggered arrival appointments, and the ability to complete necessary steps via the Royal Caribbean App before arriving, the cruise line does not anticipate that the embarkation process will take much longer than is typically required.

Onboard the ship

The number of hand sanitizer stations onboard have been increased by 75 % and are located near elevators, at exits and entrances to all venues, plus anywhere onboard that doesn’t have handwashing stations or restroom sinks in the immediate vicinity.

Additionally, a new bottle of hand sanitizer will also be provided in all staterooms on embarkation day.

For convenience, room service will be available and, as an added measure to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew, will feature contactless delivery.

Additionally, between 6 a. m. and 11 a.m., guests can enjoy daily American breakfast delivered free of charge.

Medical care on Adventure of the Seas

In the event that a cruise must return to the port of departure earlier than planned for reasons related to SARS- CoV-2, guests will receive a full refund.

Rapid tests will be available onboard in case any guest is not feeling well, with results in an hour. He/ she can be evaluated immediately by medical staff, with an in- stateroom visit or by video tele-consultation.

A guest that tests positive for SARS- CoV-2 will be moved to an isolation stateroom located close to the Medical Center and will enjoy complimentary amenities such as WIFI and room service, along with regular visits or tele-consultations with medical staff to monitor his/ her wellness.

SARS- CoV-2 evaluation and testing that is performed as a recommendation of the onboard medical team is free of charge, as well as COVID -19-related medical treatment provided while onboard, should additional treatment be necessary.

What is the response plan for a positive SARS-CoV-2 test onboard?

In the event that a guest or crew member tests positive for SARS - Co V- 2 onboard, a robust, tiered response plan will be activated and is in accordance with guidance from local authorities and leading public health experts.

The tiers increase protocols and vigilance onboard, while providing transparent correspondence to guests throughout the process. In partnership with local authorities, Royal Caribbean has developed transport protocols to ensure impacted guests get home safely and swiftly.

Thanks to rapid technology - enabled contact tracing, potential exposure to other guests and crew can be promptly identified and an action plan enabled.

Royal Caribbean will sail Adventure of the Seas from Nassau in June 2021

By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean announced it will begin offering cruises on Adventure of the Seas from Nassau, Bahamas in June 2021.

Beginning in June, Adventure of the Seas will be relocated to her new homeport of Nassau, Bahamas to offer 7-night cruises to destinations such as Cozumel, Grand Bahama Island, and Perfect Day at CocoCay.

The new cruises will sail June through August 2021.

The new sailings are open to guests of all nationalities and residencies are able to book these sailings.

All crew members will be vaccinated for Covid-19 onboard, and fully vaccinated guests 18 years of age and older are able to sail. Children under the age of 18 with proof of negative COVID-19 test results are able to sail as well.

Read moreFirst look at Royal Caribbean's newly refurbished Adventure of the Seas

Details on additional health and safety measures will be announced at a later date.

The new cruises on Adventure of the Seas will go on sale beginning March 24, 2021.

Consequently, the Adventure of the Seas 2021 Europe season has been canceled. Guests booked on sailings departing June 5 — October 14, 2021 can elect to: 1) choose a refund of all funds paid or 2) accept a 125% Future Cruise Credit to be redeemed at a later date. All impacted guests and associated travel agencies will soon receive an email.

In order to sail on Adventure of the Seas, here is what passengers will need to provide the following:

  • For guests 18 years of age and older, proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID -19
  • Proof of a negative SARS- CoV-2 RT-PCR test result for entry into the country where you are sailing from (age requirements vary by jurisdiction)
  • Completed Royal Caribbean Health Questionnaire, available in the app 24 hours before sailing
  • Typical travel documents, including passport or any visas as required by the departure countr

"We are excited to get back to delivering memorable vacations in the Caribbean, gradually and safely. 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, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

"The opportunity to homeport in The Bahamas is a testament to the tremendous partners the government and the people of the island nation have been to us for more than 50 years. We are grateful for the confidence that they have in us and our commitment to a healthy and happy return to sailing."

The announcement comes days after Royal Caribbean teased a big announcement, but delayed it a few hours later.

This is the second ship to restart sailings outside of the United States, with Grandeur of the Seas sailing from Barbados in December.

Similarly, Celebrity Cruises announced it will restart cruises outside the United States with Celebrity Millennium from St. Maarten.

Moving away from the United States

It is difficult to look past the fact Royal Caribbean deploying a ship to sail from Nassau is a move to get ships sailing again faster.

When the CDC lifted the No Sail Order at the end of October and replaced it with the Framework for Conditional Sail Order, the CDC outlined a series of steps required for cruises to be able to progress towards restarting.

Cruise lines are still waiting for those instructions.

While cruise lines wait for approval to sail again from the United States, today's announcement that Adventure of the Seas will sail from the Bahamas appears to be a strategy to move around those restrictions.

Royal Caribbean had already scheduled Grandeur of the Seas to sail from Barbados in December, but many cruise lines are now looking to return to service sooner with sailings this summer.

In terms of getting a sense of what the CDC or cruise lines are looking for in these statistics, there are still unknowns, but Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain pointed to factors such as how quickly the vaccine continues to roll out, or how the Covid variants will affect numbers going forward.

"I think it's premature for them, or for us, to try and speculate on what threshold the number has to be, because it's so many variables."

"I think we're more encouraged to see the really dramatic drop that we've been experiencing and the really nice roll out, particularly in the United States, in the U.K., in the in the vaccine."

Celebrity Cruises announces it will restart cruises from St. Maarten in June 2021

By: Matt Hochberg

Celebrity Cruises announced it will be able to restart cruises in June from St. Maarten.

Beginning June 5, Celebrity will offer cruises that sail from the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten through August.

The new sailings will take place on the Celebrity Millennium and offer two different seven-night itineraries.

One itinerary will call on Aruba, Curaçao and Barbados and a second itinerary will call on Tortola, St. Lucia and Barbados.

All the crew members on Celebrity Millennium will be fully vaccinated and be available to vaccinated adult guests and children under the age of 18 with a negative test result within 72 hours of embarkation.

The new sailings from St. Maarten will go on sale beginning March 25.

Guests can take advantage of special air and sea pricing offering exceptional savings on all Summer 2021 St. Maarten sailings starting at $1,999 per person for a veranda stateroom. The offer applies to new bookings and flights must be booked through Flights By Celebrity and prices include airfare and taxes. No promotional code is needed.

Celebrity also announced the decision to move Millennium means there will be no Alaska cruise season for this ship. 

Celebrity Cruises will therefore be suspending all Alaska, Pacific Coastal, Canal and Transatlantic sailings, departing June through September 2021, aboard Celebrity Millennium.

Celebrity's announcement mirrors Royal Caribbean International's new sailings from Barbados that will begin in December 2021 on Grandeur of the Seas.