For the first time in more than a year, a Royal Caribbean ship is setting sail in North America
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
It’s finally comeback time for Royal Caribbean in North America.
In a major milestone for the cruise industry’s long-delayed return to operations in the region, the world’s largest cruise line on Saturday will operate its first Caribbean sailing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.
The voyage will be a seven-night trip out of Nassau in the Bahamas on the line’s 3,114-passenger Adventure of the Seas. It’ll feature calls at Cozumel in Mexico and Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas.
For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.
Adventure of the Seas will be just the second big cruise ship to resume operations in North America since March 2020. Royal Caribbean’s sister line, Celebrity Cruises, began sailings out of St. Maarten (the Dutch side of the island of St. Martin) on June 5 with a single ship, Celebrity Millennium.
The Royal Caribbean and Celebrity sailings are just the start of what soon will be a flood of cruise vessels resuming operations in North America.
For starters, Celebrity has another ship starting up Caribbean sailings out of Fort Lauderdale on June 26. Luxury line Crystal Cruises will follow a week later with a startup of Bahamas sailings out of Nassau.
In addition, seven separate major cruise lines have announced plans to restart cruises to Alaska out of Seattle in July and August.
While many vacation spots on land in North America have reopened to tourists in recent months as COVID-19 cases have fallen, cruise lines have been delayed in restarting sailings due to restrictions implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Until recently, the CDC had blocked all but the smallest cruise ships from sailing in U.S. waters, which has effectively shut down big-ship cruising in North America. Most big cruise ships that sail in North America use U.S. ports as a base.
The CDC restrictions are behind Royal Caribbean’s decision to operate this weekend’s sailing out the Bahamas and only include stops at non-U.S. ports. By originating the trip in a non-U.S. port and not including U.S. port stops, the line does not need the approval of the CDC to operate the voyage. Royal Caribbean only requires the approval of officials in the destinations that Adventure of the Seas will visit, which the line now has.
While Adventure of the Seas and Celebrity Millennium are the first two big cruise ships to restart operations in North America since the coronavirus pandemic began, they’re not the first cruise ships of any size to restart — or at least attempt to restart — operations.
The Royal Caribbean and Celebrity restarts in the Caribbean come seven months after small-ship specialist SeaDream Yacht Club attempted to resume voyages in the Caribbean with a small, yacht-like vessel called SeaDream 1. Alas, the sailing did not go particularly well. It ended with a COVID-19 outbreak and a multi-day quarantine for passengers. SeaDream subsequently canceled months-worth of sailings that it had planned for the winter and spring in North America.
There also have been several dozen cruises on small riverboats and other small vessels operated in the past two months on U.S. rivers and intracoastal waters. All of the trips have been on vessels that carry fewer than 250 passengers and crew, which are not subject to CDC regulation.
Still, the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Millennium sailings this month mark what many consider the true kickoff to a comeback of cruising in North America. Big-ship sailings in North America — particularly in the Bahamas and the Caribbean — account for a significant percentage of all cruises taken worldwide.
Like all of the lines in the midst of restarting departures, Royal Caribbean is implementing a long list of new health and safety measures on Adventure of the Seas designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on board.
The new measures include a requirement that all passengers 16 years and older must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, with final doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. Starting Aug. 1, all passengers age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated.
The line also is requiring that all passengers — even vaccinated passengers — be tested for COVID-19 before boarding Adventure of the Seas on the day the ship sails. This latter requirement was just added on Thursday — just two days before the ship’s first departure.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:
- The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
- A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
- 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
- 15 ways cruisers waste money
- 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
- What to pack for your first cruise
Featured image of courtesy of Celebrity Cruises
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees