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Royal Caribbean announces full summer 2021 US cruise restart
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AP

Royal Caribbean announces full summer 2021 US cruise restart

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The Royal Caribbean ship Adventure of the Sea sits off Fort Lauderdale beach on Thursday, April 2, 2020. The cruise line's parent company announced Thursday, July 30, 2020, it was dropping "cruises" from its official name to become Royal Caribbean Group. The cruise ships are ready to set sail again after the pandemic shut down its operations.

The Royal Caribbean ship Adventure of the Sea sits off Fort Lauderdale beach on Thursday, April 2, 2020. The cruise line's parent company announced Thursday, July 30, 2020, it was dropping "cruises" from its official name to become Royal Caribbean Group. The cruise ships are ready to set sail again after the pandemic shut down its operations. (Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

Royal Caribbean International’s top executives unveiled the company’s full summer 2021 cruise schedule, which includes six ships sailing from U.S. cruise ports in Florida and Texas, in addition to two ships in a previously announced Alaska program.

“The moment we’ve all been waiting for is HERE!” Vicki Freed, senior vice president-sales, trade support and service posted on Facebook June 4. “Cruises from the U.S. return this July with a full lineup of award-winning ships. We’re getting back to the Caribbean and back to what we do best —making vacation memories with you.”

The 2021 U.S. cruise season will kick off on July 2 in Miami with Freedom of the Seas embarking on a Fourth of July weekend sailing to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

“By the end of August, 12 Royal Caribbean ships will be cruising once again across The Bahamas, Caribbean, Alaska and Europe,” Freed wrote. “In the coming weeks, we’ll announce our plans to reintroduce our full fleet around the globe by year’s end.”

Here’s Royal Caribbean’s full summer lineup from the U.S.:

— Freedom of the Seas: three- and four-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Miami, starting July 2

— Odyssey of the Seas: six- and eight-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, starting July 3

— Serenade of the Seas: seven-night Alaska sailings from Seattle, starting July 19

— Allure of the Seas: seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral, Florida, starting Aug. 8

— Ovation of the Seas: seven-night Alaska itineraries from Seattle, starting Aug. 13

— Symphony of the Seas: seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Miami, starting Aug. 14

— Independence of the Seas: seven-night Western Caribbean sailings from Galveston, Texas, starting Aug. 15

— Mariner of the Seas: three- and four-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 23

The expanded summer lineup will include international ports across the Atlantic, such as Barcelona and Rome, when Harmony of the Seas returns to Europe. Starting Aug. 15, the Oasis-Class ship will set sail on seven-night itineraries to the Western Mediterranean and visit destinations like Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and Provence, France.

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The new U.S and Europe cruises extend Royal Caribbean’s previously announced plans to return to sailing, which include Adventure of the Seas departing from The Bahamas starting on June 12, Anthem of the Seas sailing out of the U.K. and Jewel of the Seas from Cyprus in July.

In his own Facebook post, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said the cruise restart was helped greatly by the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Thanks in large part to the successful rollout of vaccines, the world of adventure is beginning to open up, and we are all excited to start delivering great vacations to our guests, who have increasingly told us they are getting vaccinated,” he wrote. “As of today, 90 percent of all vacationers booking with Royal Caribbean are either vaccinated or planning to get vaccinated in time for their cruise.”

All crew members will be vaccinated against COVID-19. Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible. Those who are unvaccinated or unable to show proof of vaccination will receive a test before boarding.

Vacationers sailing to Alaska and who are 16 years of age or older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and that mandate applies to those 12 years or older as of Aug. 1.

If departing from an international port, guests must meet the travel requirements of their home country and the country of departure. The most up-to-date policies can be found online on each country’s tourism site.

Royal Caribbean is continuing discussions with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and multiple state, local and port authorities regarding the various additional measures for the upcoming sailings.

This process requires each ship to complete simulation cruises before receiving approval to resume sailing once again in the U.S. The applications for simulation cruises are under review and receiving approvals on a rolling basis. The progress made as a result of the ongoing collaboration with and support from the state, local and federal level continues to set the stage for Royal Caribbean to return to sailing this summer as planned.

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