Royal Caribbean unveils yet another first-ever home port as it ramps up comeback plans
Add Cyprus to the list of unusual places that will soon be home to a Royal Caribbean ship.
Royal Caribbean on Thursday said it would begin seven-night departures out of Limassol, Cyprus, on July 10 with its 2,191-passenger Jewel of the Seas.
The voyages will focus on destinations in Greece including Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens) and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Santorini.
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The trips will mark the first time that Royal Caribbean has based a ship in Cyprus in its 52-year history and come as the line is looking for countries that will allow it to restart cruising in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Royal Caribbean and other lines have been blocked by health officials for the past year from restarting cruises in some of the world's biggest cruise hubs including ports in the U.S. and Canada.
In recent days, Royal Caribbean also has announced plans for its first sailings out of Bermuda and its first sailings out of Nassau, in the Bahamas, both of which will start soon. The line also plans its first voyages out of Israel, albeit for Israeli residents only. The line has also been operating cruises out of Singapore since December for residents only.
And on Thursday, Royal Caribbean's sister line, Celebrity Cruises, also announced voyages out of Greece that will start in June.
Royal Caribbean said the new sailings out of Cyprus would be open to travelers from any country. One major caveat: Adults who want to sail must show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Children under the age of 18 will be able to sail with just proof of a negative COVID-19 test. All crew also will be required to have COVID-19 vaccinations to work on the ship.
The line suggested such restrictions could evolve over time.
Royal Caribbean also noted that passengers on the voyages would have to meet the travel requirements of Cyprus.
“We know how eager our guests are to enjoy a getaway this summer, and these sailings, which include a mix of fantastic destinations and must-visit islands, make for the perfect getaway,” Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley said in a statement. “Cyprus is a beautiful island, and we are thankful to the Cypriot government for their support and enthusiasm in making these incredible itineraries possible.”
In a statement, the deputy minister of tourism for Cyprus, Savvas Perdios, welcomed Royal Caribbean and its newly announced sailings.
“We are delighted that Royal Caribbean will call Limassol its home port for the first time ever," Perdios said. "This has been an ambition of ours for many years, and we are thrilled that, finally, this dream has come to fruition."
The new Cyprus trips will open for bookings on April 7.
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