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These are all the cruises Americans can do this summer

May 06, 2021
10 min read
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With just a few exceptions, Americans have been unable to cruise anywhere in the world over the past 13 months, even in places where a limited amount of cruising has resumed. But that's about to change in the coming weeks -- and in a big way.

Even as officials in the U.S. and Canada continue to block cruise ships from sailing in their waters, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, more than half a dozen major lines that traditionally cater to North Americans are in the final countdown toward a restart of cruising for U.S. and Canadian travelers in other places.

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While we have seen a few cruise ships resume operations in Europe and other destinations around the world since last summer, most of these vessels remain off-limits to Americans for now. But, starting in early June, such major lines as Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Crystal Cruises will begin cruises in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda and Europe that will be open to Americans.

For the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda sailings, the lines have found new "home ports" outside of the U.S. such as Nassau in the Bahamas and Montego Bay, Jamaica, that they can use as bases for their ships.

The lines have had to find new home ports for such North American sailings because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently is blocking cruise lines that operate bigger ships from sailing from U.S. ports — something that is now the subject of a lawsuit by the state of Florida.

We're also seeing a return to service by a number of small lines that operate small vessels in U.S. waters that are open to Americans. These small lines operate vessels that are exempt from the CDC's COVID-19-related restrictions on cruising, allowing them to resume operations as soon as they can get permission from local port towns and states.

Below is a comprehensive list of dozens of cruise itineraries on 44 cruise vessels that will be open to Americans for the summer.

Mediterranean

The 1,200-passenger Celestyal Crystal will begin cruises open to Americans out of Piraeus, Greece, on May 29. (Photo courtesy of Celestyal Cruises)

The port of Piraeus, Greece, near Athens, is shaping up to be the big hub for cruises that are open to Americans this summer -- at least for the early part of the summer. Seven cruise lines that cater to North Americans already have announced definitive plans to operate Greek Islands voyages out of Piraeus starting in either May, June, July or August. The announcements come as Greece moves forward aggressively with a plan to reopen widely to tourists in advance of the summer travel season. An eighth line has announced plans for sailings to the Greek Islands out of Cyprus.

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The following sailings in the region will be open to Americans:

  • Celestyal Cruises, a specialist in Greek islands cruises, restarts voyages to various Greek islands on May 29 with one ship, the 1,200-passenger Celestyal Crystal. A second vessel, the 1,664-passenger Celestyal Olympia, will begin sailings in the region on June 28.
  • Silversea on June 18 will resume Eastern Mediterranean sailings out of Piraeus with a single ship, the 596-passenger Silver Moon. It'll offer 10-night voyages that bring calls at the Greek islands of Santorini, Paros, Mykonos and Crete as well as Haifa, Israel, and Cyprus.
  • Celebrity Cruises on June 19 will resume Eastern Mediterranean sailings with a single ship, the 2,908-passenger Celebrity Apex. It'll sail out of Piraeus to the Greek Islands on alternating, week-long voyages that also include a stop in either Cyprus or Israel.
  • Seabourn on July 3 will restart Greek Islands sailings out of Piraeus. The trips will take place on the 600-passenger Seabourn Ovation.
  • Royal Caribbean on July 10 will begin Greek Islands sailings with a single ship, the 2,191-passenger Jewel of the Seas. The vessel will sail out of Limassol, Cyprus on voyages that include stops at the islands of Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Santorini as well as Piraeus.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line on July 25 will restart Greek Islands sailings out of Piraeus with a single vessel, the 2,200-passenger Norwegian Jade.
  • MSC Cruises is restarting cruises out of Italy to Greece in June with three ships — MSC Orchestra, MSC Splendida and MSC Magnifica — that it says will be open to Americans starting in July.
  • Holland America will resume cruises to the Greek Islands out of Piraeus on Aug. 15.

Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda

The Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Millennium will resume Caribbean cruises on June 5 with sailings out of the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin, known as St. Maarten. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

Celebrity, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn and Crystal Cruises are among the lines that have announced a restart to sailings to ports in the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda this summer that are open to Americans. In all cases, the trips depart from home ports outside of the United States, as the CDC continues to block bigger ships from sailing in U.S. waters.

The following sailings will be open to Americans:

  • Celebrity resumes Caribbean cruises on June 5 with sailings out of the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin (known as St. Maarten). The trips will take place on the 2,218-passenger Celebrity Millennium and feature calls at such destinations as Aruba, Curaçao and Barbados.
  • Royal Caribbean restarts Caribbean and Bahamas voyages on June 12 with sailings out of Nassau to Perfect Day at CocoCay, the line's private island in the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. The trips will take place on the 3,807-passenger Adventure of the Seas. Royal Caribbean's 2,514-passenger Vision of the Seas begins sailings to the Bahamas out of Bermuda's Royal Naval Dockyard on June 26.
  • Viking will offer a handful seven-night voyages around Bermuda out of Hamilton, Bermuda, starting on June 15.
  • Windstar's 312-passenger Star Breeze on June 19 begins Caribbean sailings out of Philipsburg, St. Maarten.
  • Crystal Cruises will begin its first-ever all-Bahamas voyages on July 3 out of Nassau and Bimini in the Bahamas. The trips will take place on Crystal’s 980-passenger Crystal Serenity. The line's 922-passenger Crystal Symphony will begin 10-night Caribbean sailings from Antigua on Aug. 5.
  • Seabourn is restarting Caribbean cruises on July 18 with sailings of a single ship, the 462-passenger Seabourn Odyssey. Itineraries will bring calls at Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and St. Kitts.
  • Norwegian starts weeklong Caribbean voyages out of Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Aug. 7 with its 3,802-passenger Norwegian Joy. It adds weeklong Caribbean sailings out of La Romana, Dominican Republic, on Aug. 15 with its 2,394-passenger Norwegian Gem.

Alaska

Alaska cruise specialist UnCruise Adventures will have six small vessels sailing in Alaska this summer on voyages that are open to Americans. (Photo courtesy of UnCruise Adventures)

Big-ship lines already have canceled all or most of their Alaska sailings for the year due to COVID-19-related restrictions on big-ship cruising imposed by the U.S. and Canada. But several small-ship lines are in the midst of starting up operations in the state for the spring, summer and fall. Small-ship lines are exempt from the CDC's ban on cruising.

The sailings, all open to Americans, include:

  • A full slate of five- to nine-night sailings around Alaska's Southeast region offered for the summer season by small-ship adventure-cruise operator Alaska Dream Cruises. The line operates six small vessels in the state that carry 10 to 76 passengers.
  • A full slate of seven-, 12- and 14-night sailings around Alaska's Southeast region for the summer season by small-ship adventure-cruise operator UnCruise Adventures. The line operates six vessels in the state that carry from 22 to 86 passengers.

Small-ship lines American Cruise Lines and Lindblad Expeditions also will be offering Alaska cruises over the summer on several small ships. American Cruise Lines is deploying one vessel to Alaska starting in June, the 170-passenger American Constellation. Lindblad is deploying two vessels to Alaska starting in June, the 100-passenger National Geographic Quest and sister ship National Geographic Venture.

US rivers and other waterways

Six American Cruise Lines vessels already have resumed operations in U.S. waters. (Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines)

Small-vessel cruising also is in the midst of resuming on U.S. rivers and intracoastal waterways with two main cruise operators leading the way:

  • American Cruise Lines resumed cruises along the intracoastal waterways of Georgia and South Carolina on March 13 with one vessel, the 100-passenger Independence, and it has since added sailings on the Mississippi River and several other U.S. waterways including the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Eight of the line's 13 vessels now are back in operation.
  • American Queen Steamboat Company resumed cruises on the Mississippi River on March 15 with a sailing of its 166-passenger American Duchess, and it added a second ship to service (American Countess) on the river on March 21. The company plans to restart sailings in the Pacific Northwest on June 14 with its paddlewheeler American Empress.

South Pacific

The 148-passenger Wind Spirit will resume sailing in French Polynesia in July. (Photo courtesy of Windstar Cruises)

Windstar Cruises plans to restart its year-round sailings out of Tahiti to French Polynesia's Society Islands on July 15.

The trips take place on Windstar's 148-passenger Wind Spirit, a hybrid vessel that can operate on both sails and motors.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Millennium (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees