With global vaccination drives on the uptick, more destinations around the world are gradually opening up to travel while more cruise lines are also to get back into the water.
Here's a round-up of recent announcements from cruise lines on their expected restart dates and sailings.
Celebrity Cruises plans St Maarten sailings this June
Come 5 June, Celebrity Cruises will homeport the Celebrity Millennium in St Maarten in the Caribbean with cruises for vaccinated passengers.
Unlike Crystal's sailings, which will stay in Bahamian waters, the Celebrity cruises will feature two multi-jurisdictional itineraries: one will visit Aruba, Curacao and Barbados, and the other St Lucia, Barbados and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
Bookings for the cruises will open 25 March to vaccinated adults and children under the age of 18 with negative Covid-19 test results within 72 hours of embarkation. The ship's crew will also have been vaccinated.
Pricing for the seven-night cruises will begin at US$1,999 per person for a veranda stateroom, air and taxes-inclusive.
Unlike cruises that have operated in Europe, passengers will not be restricted to ship-sponsored shore excursions, and will be allowed to disembark and explore ports on their own.
In addition to Celebrity-organised group tours, "Private Journeys" and "Small Group Discovery Tours" will also be available for guests wanting to stick with family members or traveling companions.
All restaurants, bars and theaters will be open, and that, health and safety protocols aside, the "full experience" will be available. Occupancy will be less than full, but the exact occupancy percentage will be determined by demand and the latest guidance.
Source: Arnie Weissmann, Travel Weekly
The Adventure of the Seas, which will begin operations in June from the Bahamas.
Royal Caribbean International resumes North America sailings
RCL made the news just hours after sister line Celebrity Cruises said that it would launch cruises from St. Maarten.
Royal will offer seven-day sailings from Nassau on the Adventure of the Seas that will spend two days at its private Bahamian island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, and call at Grand Bahama Island and Cozumel, Mexico.
The same Covid-testing rules for Celebrity will apply for Royal guests. As well, Bahamas requires test to enter and join the ship, and then having to test again to return to the US.
"In many ways, it'll be the safest place on the planet, because everybody's vaccinated, except for kids, who are tested," CEO Michael Bayley, who added that as of now, passengers disembarking during calls in Cozumel and Grand Bahama will be offered "controlled protocol experiences, both for the community and the guests".
On Perfect Day, he said, passengers can wander freely as they always have because the island will be "fundamentally be an extension of the ship. Everybody's tested, everybody's vaccinated".
Bayley said the line chose the Adventure of the Seas in part because of its relatively small size as opposed to one of the line's larger ships, such as an Oasis-class vessel.
"Just the sheer scale of Oasis does change the dynamics," he said. "So we were quite considerate of that. It's quite a lot of airlift that needs to go into the Bahamas to join the Adventure of the Seas: if you put an Oasis class there it really does increase the airlift needs significantly."
Both brands will bypass the CDC's Conditional Sailing Order that prevents large-ship cruising in US waters by launching cruises for North Americans just outside borders, a move Crystal Cruises was the first to announce, earlier this month, with a July restart from the Bahamas.
"Obviously, we're impatient," said Bayley. "We've been waiting a while for the guidance from the CDC, but we understand that the CDC has got a lot on its shoulders, there's a lot for them to be taking care of, so we completely understand the situation, but naturally, we're waiting and our mission is delivering great vacations."
It is Royal's first time homeporting in Nassau, Bahamas. Bookings for the sailings open 24 March, and the itineraries will operate through August.
Source: Johanna Jainchill, Travel Weekly
July comeback for Crystal Cruises in Bahamas
Crystal Cruises announced on 11 March that it will resume sailing in the Bahamas on 3 July. Under this agreement, Crystal Serenity will offer a series of Bahamas-only sailings that will include stops previously accessible only by private yacht.
The restart announcement has been met with its booking day in company history in the first 24 hours its Bahamas cruises on the Crystal Serenity opened for sale.
A total of 16 Bahamas Escapes seven-day cruises are scheduled from July to October, said Crystal's interim CEO, Jack Anderson. Introductory prices for the cruises start at US$1,999 per guest, capped at 900 passengers per sailing.
Passengers can embark in Nassau every Saturday or in Bimini every Sunday for the roundtrip cruises that will then sail to Harbour Island, Great Exuma, San Salvador and Long Island, he said.
As per Crystal health and safety protocols, all guests will need to be vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure. They will also have to meet Bahamian entry requirements, which include proof of a negative PCR test with 72 hours of departure and a negative antigen test on arrival.
Source: Jeri Clausing, Travel Weekly
The newest addition to Princess Cruises' fleet, Sky Princess.
July restart in UK for Princess
Princess Cruises has launched limited series of Britain coastal cruises for Covid-vaccinated guests in the UK only.
These series of short breaks and week-long voyages aboard Regal Princess and Sky Princess are scheduled to sail from Southampton around the UK coast from 3Q 2021.
Regal will sail 14 voyages from 31 July to 23 September, while Sky Princess will sail eight cruises from 30 August to 28 September. Itineraries range from three to seven nights, calling at Liverpool, England, Belfast, Northern Ireland and Greenock, Scotland.
As part of safety measures, the OceanMedallion wearable device replaces the traditional cruise card and pairs with embedded IoT (Internet of things) — enabling touch-free options such as during embarkation and disembarkation, keyless stateroom entry, completely contactless commerce, simplified safety training, on-demand food, beverages and retail items delivered anywhere on board and other services.
Additional reporting from Natalie Joy Lee.