Over the Fourth of July weekend, cruise giants Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International reopened its doors after a nearly 16-month hiatus.
Both the Carnival Horizon and the Freedom of the Seas sailed from Miami.
Carnival Horizon set out on a six-day trip to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, and Half Moon Cay, a private Bahamian island.
Carnival Vista sailed from Galveston on 15th July, with Carnival Breeze sailing from the Texas port on 15th July and Carnival Miracle sailing from Seattle on 27th July.
On 31st July, the new ship Mardi Gras will set sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, with other Carnival ships returning to service in August.
The Freedom of the Seas was the first Royal Caribbean ship to return to the United States, welcoming passengers on a series of three-night weekend and four-night weekday cruises to private island destination Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, Bahamas.
For sailings beginning 1st August, Royal Caribbean is “strongly recommending” that guests 16 and older be completely vaccinated — age 12 and older for sailings beginning 1st August.
Those who have not been vaccinated or who cannot show proof of immunization must be tested, follow specific health precautions, and purchase travel insurance that covers medical and other expenditures associated with Covid-19.
Nine more ships, including Anthem of the Seas in the United Kingdom, Serenade and Ovation of the Seas in Alaska, and the new Odyssey of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, are scheduled to return by August.
In the “coming weeks,” the line will reveal plans to reintroduce its whole fleet across the world by the end of the year.
Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, stated: “PortMiami is our number one homeport in terms of ships and passenger embarkations and today’s return to cruising with Carnival Horizon represents an important first step in getting our company back to business while infusing much-needed capital to the thousands of workers who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihood.
“The past year has been challenging to say the least and I wish to thank our state and local officials, PortMiami, and our business partners and suppliers for their incredible support and patience during this time.”
Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said: “We have a lot to celebrate. Families and loved ones can finally come together after more than a year apart, and we’re now welcoming them back on board to make up for that lost time.
“For a moment as meaningful as Fourth of July weekend, it couldn’t be more appropriate that Freedom of the Seas be the first ship to ring in our return to cruising in the US and delivering the memorable and safe vacations Royal Caribbean is known for. Summer family vacations are back, and we are just getting started.”
Meanwhile, Celebrity Flora, the first of Celebrity Cruises’ three ships to resume sailing the Galapagos archipelago, has begun operations, with Celebrity Xpedition and the 16-passenger Celebrity Xploration to follow on 24th July and 18th September, respectively.
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