The flurry of activity continues as cruises look to restart sailing from the United States in 2021. Today, Royal Caribbean announced it will sail to Alaska starting in July. Serenade of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas are set to head north this summer with sailings from Seattle.
This news comes on the heels of Carnival Corporation announcing three different lines (Carnival, Princess, and Holland America) will also sail to Alaska starting this summer.
Just days ago any potential Alaskan cruises seemed to be put on hold. Canada renewed a ban of large ships from docking in its ports earlier this year. With the inability to dock, foreign-flagged ships (which make up most cruise fleets) couldn’t sail. Laws say these ships must make at least one stop in a foreign port before returning to the United States.
Yesterday, however, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that relaxed these rules temporarily. Without having to make a foreign stop, cruise lines are now free again to sail from Seattle to Alaska once the bill is signed into law.
With its passage on the horizon, cruise lines — including Royal Caribbean — are quickly adding Alaskan trips.
“The past year has been a challenging time for us all, and the Alaskan communities heavily reliant on cruise tourism have felt it deeply,” said Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley. “To see the communities, industry and government successfully pass a solution that will help bring these communities back to life shows the great progress and clear paths we can make together. We are confident this is just the first part of our return to cruising from the U.S.”
Two Ships Sailing; Vaccines Required
Royal Caribbean will sail two ships this season to Alaska.
Serenade of the Seas will start sailing July 19. She will take 7-day cruises from Seattle, switching from a homeport in Vancouver. Ovation of the Seas will return later in the summer, with trips beginning on August 13. These cruises will also be week-long trips and sail roundtrip from Seattle. Bookings are open starting today.
Before you book, however, you should know that vaccines are required for most passengers. Royal Caribbean says that all crew and all passengers 16 and older will have to be fully vaccinated to sail. After August 1, everyone 12 years and older will need the shot to sail.
Children under the age limit will still be allowed to sail, but must take a virus test before they are allowed to board.
Royal Caribbean also said in the press release that “the measures will be evaluated and updated as public health circumstances evolve.”
Previously, Carnival, Princess, and Holland America all said that passengers would need to be vaccinated to sail on their Alaskan cruises as well.
Does This Mean Cruises Are Definitely Back This Summer?
At this point, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that U.S. sailings will commence at some point this summer. This announcement by Royal Caribbean that two of its ships will sail to Alaska bodes well for other trips and cruise lines also returning soon. In the past year and a half with thousands of cruises cancelled, it’s a big statement of confidence to add trips to the schedule.
It also marks yet another cruise line announcing shots will be required to sail, at least for the time being. If you’ve been putting off the vaccine and want to sail this summer, it seems a good idea to go ahead and get the jab so you’ll be ready to cruise.