Royal Caribbean opens bookings for U.S.-based cruises from Florida and Texas
The cruise industry has reached another milestone in its efforts to resume cruising from U.S. homeports.
Royal Caribbean announced it will start sailing with paying passengers from Florida and Texas homeports in July, and has opened bookings Caribbean and Bahamas cruises for five (soon to be six) ships.
"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," Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, said in a statement on Facebook.
Royal Caribbean’s summer 2021 cruise lineup from U.S. homeports
Royal Caribbean’s new U.S.-based cruises are as follows:
- Freedom of the Seas: 3- and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay from Miami, starting July 2, 2021
- Mariner of the Seas: 3- and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay from Port Canaveral, starting August 23, 2021
- Odyssey of the Seas: 6- and 8-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), starting July 3, 2021
- Allure of the Seas: 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, starting August 8, 2021
- Symphony of the Seas: 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Miami, starting August 14, 2021
- Independence of the Seas: 7-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston, starting August 15, 2021
All cruises are currently open for booking, except Independence of the Seas, which will go on sale on June 8.
The six ships have recently been approved for test cruises by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as part of that organization’s requirements for cruise ships to resume sailing from the U.S. Carnival, Celebrity, and Disney Cruise Line have also been approved for test cruises by the CDC.
Royal Caribbean urges travelers to get vaccinated before sailing, and says that those who are not fully vaccinated will need to get Covid tested before sailings. The cruise line will outline additional health protocols and boarding requirements at a later date.
"We are all excited to start delivering great vacations to our guests, who have increasingly told us they are getting vaccinated," said Bayley. "As of today, 90% of all vacationers booking with Royal Caribbean are either vaccinated or planning to get vaccinated in time for their cruise."
He expressed his gratitude to Florida’s governor, the mayors of Miami-Dade and Broward County, and other officials for providing vaccine access to crew members. "This act of understanding and humanity has been deeply appreciated, and we are grateful for their support, which is enabling the health and safety of our guests, crew members and the communities we visit."
Rounding out Royal Caribbean’s summer 2021 cruise lineup from the U.S. are Alaska cruises on Serenade of the Seas, beginning in July, and Ovation of the Seas, starting in August. Both ships sail from Seattle, and these voyages require passengers to be vaccinated.
Summer 2021 Royal Caribbean cruises from foreign homeports
In addition, Royal Caribbean announced new seven-night Western Mediterranean cruises on Harmony of the Seas, sailing from Barcelona and Rome, beginning August 15, 2021. These sailings are also open for booking.
The ship joins Jewel of the Seas in Europe, which the line previously announced would sale from Cypress starting in July.
Beginning in June, Adventure of the Seas will depart from Nassau for seven-night Bahamas and Caribbean cruises, and Vision of the Seas will sail seven-night cruises from Bermuda. Cruisers will need to be fully vaccinated.
Travelers departing from international ports will need to adhere to the travel requirements of the departure country and their home country.
Royal Caribbean hinted that in the next few weeks it will reveal plans to resume cruises on the remainder of its fleet.
Canceled Royal Caribbean cruises
Royal Caribbean’s good news is tempered with some less-welcome news for booked passengers. In order to make its current summer lineup viable, the line is forced to cancel several itineraries through the summer and into the fall.
Canceled summer Royal Caribbean cruises include:
- Allure of the Seas: Port Canaveral departures from July 4 to August 1, 2021
- Brilliance of the Seas: Tampa departures from July 3 to August 28, 2021
- Enchantment of the Seas: Baltimore departures from July 1 to August 26, 2021
- Explorer of the Seas: Galveston departures from July 5 to Sept 22 and October 25, 2021
- Freedom of the Seas: Bayonne departures from July 3 to October 23, 2021
- Harmony of the Seas: Barcelona and Rome departures from July 4 to August 12, 2021, and Rome departures on August 19 and 26, 2021
- Liberty of the Seas: Galveston departures from July 4 to August 8, 2021
- Mariner of the Seas: Port Canaveral departures from July 2 to August 20, 2021
- Oasis of the Seas: Bayonne departures from July 2 to August 29, 2021
- Rhapsody of the Seas: Ravenna/Venice departures from July 3 to November 30, 2021
- Symphony of the Seas: Miami departures from July 3 to August 7, 2021
The cruise line will contact passengers booked on these canceled cruises to discuss options, including full refunds and rebooking.