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Royal Caribbean confirms six ship summer US restart

Six Royal Caribbean International ships are set to return to sailings from US ports from July.

The line will reveal plans in the next few weeks to reintroduce its full fleet around the globe by the end of 2021.

The resumption of US cruises after almost a year and a half of Covid curbs came as sister company Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Millennium became the first in its fleet to restart with a departure from the Caribbean island of St Maarten.

The ship is operating with reduced capacity with a vaccinated crew and at least 95% vaccinated passengers.

Royal Caribbean will also return Harmony of the Seas to Europe with a seven-night western Mediterranean itinerary from Barcelona starting on August 15.

The company’s US summer comeback will see Freedom of the Seas run on a special July 4 weekend sailing to private island Perfect Day at CocoCay and new ship Odyssey of the Seas sailing from July 3 from Fort Lauderdale on new six- and eight-night Caribbean cruises.

Allure, Symphony, Independence and Mariner of the Seas will follow from ports in Florida and Texas.

Royal Caribbean previously announced return to sailing includes Anthem of the Seas from the UK and Jewel of the Seas from Cyprus both in July, and Adventure of the Seas departing from The Bahamas this month.

Royal Caribbean said: “To further protect public health and the safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit, protocols for initial cruises are being developed in collaboration with local governments and health ministers. Guidance specific to each port of departure is being shared with booked guests prior to their sailing.

“Guidance for Harmony of the Seas sailings is still in development and will be in accordance with the requirements of local health authorities.

“Guests can rest assured that their health and safety are our top priority, and measures will be communicated in a timely manner ahead of our return to sailing. We will continue to evaluate these measures as public health circumstances evolve.”

The line is continuing discussions with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and multiple US state, local and port authorities and with destinations regarding the various requirements for the upcoming sailings.

The process requires each ship to complete a simulation cruise before receiving approval to resume sailing once again from US ports.

The applications for simulation cruises are under review and receiving approvals on a rolling basis.

The company said: “The progress made as a result of the ongoing collaboration with and support from the state, local and federal level continues to set the stage for Royal Caribbean to return to sailing this summer as planned.

“The cruise line will share updates on measures with guests and travel advisors before their departure dates.”

Royal Caribbean International president Michel Bayley said: “This is it. Holidaymakers can finally plan to take their precious time off this summer and truly get away after what has been a challenging time for everyone.

“I would like to sincerely thank our guests and travel partners for their incredible patience and understanding during this very difficult period.

“Thanks in large part to the successful rollout of vaccines, the world of adventure is beginning to open up, and we are all excited to start delivering great holidays to our guests, who have increasingly told us they are getting vaccinated.

“As of today, 90% of all vacationers booking with Royal Caribbean are either vaccinated or planning to get vaccinated in time for their cruise.”

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