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Royal Caribbean expands comeback plans with new sailings out of Bermuda

March 23, 2021
5 min read
Royal Caribbean expands comeback plans with new sailings out of Bermuda
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Add Bermuda to the list of places where Royal Caribbean is restarting cruises.

The world's largest cruise line on Tuesday said it would begin seven-night sailings to the Bahamas out of Bermuda's Royal Naval Dockyard as soon as June 26.

The unusual routing, which the line will offer through August, will be Royal Caribbean's first foray into out-of-Bermuda cruises in its 52-year history. The trips will take place on one of Royal Caribbean's smallest vessels, the 2,514-passenger Vision of the Seas.

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Like new voyages out of the Bahamas starting on June 12 that Royal Caribbean announced a few days ago, the Bermuda sailings will not originate in or involve any stops at U.S. ports. This means they will not require the approval of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They only require the approval of officials in Bermuda and the Bahamas, which the line now has.

The CDC has blocked cruise ships that carry more than 250 people from sailing in U.S. waters since March of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The agency has not yet announced when cruise lines will be able to restart operations in U.S. waters.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean

The CDC prohibition on cruising in U.S. waters has forced major lines to repeatedly push back their plans for a restart to North American operations over the past year, as the lines typically operate North American sailings out of U.S. ports such as Florida's PortMiami and Port Canaveral. But in recent days, several lines have begun getting around the prohibition by announcing new cruises in North America out of non-U.S. ports.

In addition to Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Crystal Cruises have announced new North America sailings in recent days that don't involve U.S. ports.

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Taken together, the announcements mark a significant milestone in the comeback of cruising worldwide after a year-long halt to nearly all cruises due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Royal Caribbean's 2,514-passenger Vision of the Seas. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

A very limited amount of cruising has restarted in parts of Europe and Asia in recent months. And several very small cruise vessels that are not regulated by the CDC have restarted operations in recent days on U.S. rivers and intracoastal waterways. But cruising to North America's most important cruise destinations -- the Bahamas and the Caribbean -- remains completely shut down.

The Bahamas and Caribbean are the world's most popular cruise destinations, accounting for the highest percentage of cruises taken by all cruisers worldwide.

The new Bermuda-to-Bahamas itinerary that Royal Caribbean is planning is heavy with time at sea. It features just one-and-a-half days in Bermuda and a day at Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Royal Caribbean said adults would be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to sail on the voyages. Children under the age of 18 will be able to sail with just proof of a negative COVID-19 test. All crew also will require COVID-19 vaccinations to work on the ship.

The line said such restrictions "may evolve as they are evaluated on an ongoing basis."

Related: What it was like boarding one of the first cruises in the US in a year

Royal Caribbean also noted that passengers on the voyages would have to meet the travel requirements of Bermuda. This currently includes receiving a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 before traveling, testing upon arrival into the country and filling out appropriate entry forms.

“We are thankful to the government and people of Bermuda for welcoming us to their beautiful island nation with open arms as Vision of the Seas’ new homeport," Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley said in a statement. "This is another step in our safe and measured return to sailing beginning in June.”

In a statement, Bermuda premier David Burt welcomed Royal Caribbean and its newly announced sailings.

"We have safely and responsibly managed the reopening of its tourism economy by air, and we will meet the challenge of doing the same for the cruise industry," Burt said. "We look forward to homeporting Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas this June as part of the island’s strategic tourism recovery planning which, as always, is guided by science."

Royal Caribbean said the new Bermuda itineraries would open for bookings on March 29.

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Featured image by Oliver Leren
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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  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more