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Cruise Ship Restart News: Week of July 19, 2021

Disney Dream

Struggling to keep track of which cruise ships are returning to service and when? We are, too.  To help keep you updated on test cruises, ship relaunches from U.S. homeports, and other news related to the return to cruising, we’ll be providing weekly updates of key dates and information cruise fans need to know.

Find out when your favorite ship is setting sail with Cruise.blog’s master list of test cruises and 2021 debut sailings.

Return to Cruise

Royal Caribbean announces Alaska 2022 cruises | Cruise.Blog

Royal Caribbean: Today is an important day for both Royal Caribbean and the Alaska cruise industry. When Serenade of the Seas departs Seattle today, it will mark both the return to cruising for that ship and the restart of big-ship cruises in Alaska. Plus, for the first time, foreign-flagged ships will be able to cruise directly to Alaska from a U.S. homeport without having to stop in Canada or another foreign country during the trip.

Serenade of the Seas will sail will predominantly vaccinated guests. Exceptions will be made for children not yet old enough to be vaccinated.

Celebrity Cruises: Hot on the heels of its sister cruise line, Celebrity Cruises will send Celebrity Millennium to Alaska at the end of the week. The ship departs from Seattle on July 23. Two days later, on July 25, Celebrity Equinox will depart Ft. Lauderdale on weeklong cruises to the Bahamas and Mexico.

Holland America: The Seattle homeport is busy this week, as Holland America sends Nieuw Amsterdam on its first Alaska cruise of the season on July 24. 

Princess Cruises: Not to be outdone, Princess joins Team Alaska with Majestic Princess’ July 25 departure from Seattle to the 49th State.

Test Cruises

MSC Meraviglia is biggest cruise ship to visit New York | Cruise.Blog

Disney: Disney Dream’s postponed test cruise finally departed on July 17 out of Port Canaveral. It was the first test cruise out of that Florida homeport; Allure of the Seas will run its test on July 27. The two-night simulation cruise returned to Port Canaveral today, but Disney has not yet revealed the date of the first revenue sailing on Disney Dream, but the first cruise on that ship eligible for booking on the Disney Cruise Line website is August 13, 2021.

MSC Cruises: MSC Meraviglia also embarked on a test cruise on July 17, but from Miami. If the test goes according to plan, Meraviglia will depart on its first official cruise on August 2. The ship is planning a series of three- and four-night Bahamas cruises this summer, followed by weeklong Bahamas and Caribbean sailings.

Royal Caribbean: In case you missed it, last week Royal Caribbean received permission from the CDC to run a simulated voyage on Ovation of the Seas out of Seattle on July 30.

Itinerary Announcements

Canada closing its borders to non-citizens because of coronavirus |  Cruise.Blog

Canada announced it would shorten its cruise ship ban from Canadian ports and lift the ban on November 1, 2021, rather than February 28, 2022.

Given that most major cruise lines don’t sail to the northerly country during the late fall and winter months, the change does not impact this year’s Alaska or fall foliage cruise season. 

Policy Updates

NCL Cancellation Policy: Can I Get a Refund for My Norwegian Cruise? |  Cruise.Blog

Last week, several cruise lines updated their health protocols to clarify that passengers whose first and second Covid vaccine shots were with different vaccines (e.g. AstraZeneca first and Pfizer second) would not be eligible to cruise as vaccinated guests. This could impact travelers with upcoming sailings who cannot get a third shot in time.

Also on the news front, Norwegian Cruise Line’s parent company sued the State of Florida. The state does not allow companies to deny service to unvaccinated customers, and the cruise line is arguing that this vaccine passport ban will negatively impact its ability to return to  cruising in a safe manner.