Spring is here. It’s getting warmer and brighter, and most importantly, the pandemic is marching towards the end. We are not out of the woods yet, but things are slowly looking up. Vaccines are rolling out and travel is opening up. It looks very different than what we were used to a mere year ago, but cruise lines are gearing up to start sailing again, and it’s very exciting. With careful planning, you can have an amazing, gorgeous cruise vacation sooner than you think. So, are you ready for cruising?
Here is a guide to what you need to know about cruising right now and what some cruise lines are doing. Then, when you are ready, give me a call and we can start planning your trip!
When the pandemic first began, all cruising halted. The CDC put a moratorium on all cruising until further notice. On October 24, 2020, they issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, meaning they came up with a directive for a phased resumption of cruise ship sailings.
A key part of this order is that cruise ships sailing from the United States would have to complete a series of test cruises before applying to resume regular sailings. These test cruises would be free to volunteers and would require guests and crew to complete a series of tests and scenarios during the cruise to test out new Covid prevention and mitigation protocols. As of this writing, the CDC has not given the cruise lines any further guidance on starting these cruises – we do not know when they will begin. We do not know when sailings will resume out of U.S ports.
But, cruising is still starting up! Some cruise lines are preparing to begin sailings again as soon as May. Here are what they are doing and the new changes.
Royal Caribbean recently announced that 3 of its ships will begin sailing in the Caribbean and the Bahamas beginning in June. The Adventure of the Seas will sail itineraries from Nassau beginning June 5. The ship will visit ports such as Royal Caribbean’s amazing private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, as well as Grand Bahama Island and Cozumel.
These new sailings from the Bahamas will be the first “fully-vaccinated” sailings. All crew and guests over 18 will be required to show proof of vaccine. Guests under 18 will need to present a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of departure. People can begin booking these sailings March 24.
While technically neither the Caribbean nor the Bahamas, the Vision of the Seas will also begin sailing in June from Bermuda with a stop in Perfect Day at CocoCay. Like the sailings on Adventure of the Seas, all guests 18 and over will have to be vaccinated. Bookings for these Bermuda sailings open up on March 29.
And starting in December, the Grandeur of the Seas will embark on sailings from its new homeport, Barbados. There will be three different itineraries to choose from ranging from 7-14 nights, and including ports such as Grenada; Trinidad and Tobago; St. Vincent; Cartagena, Colombia, and Colon, Panama. These off-the-beaten path destinations are perfect for the cruiser wanting something a little different.
At this time, vaccinations are NOT required for Barbados sailings. However, the situation is fluid and this could change. Travel requirements are fast evolving and vary depending on the port and country of departure.
Would you like to try cruising a bit closer to home? One World Family Travel, LLC has space available on the amazing Anthem of the Seas April 17-24, 2022 to the Bahamas from Cape Liberty, NJ. This is the perfect spring break trip for the whole family. With bumper cars, a trapeze school, Flowrider®, and Ripcord® by iFLY®, 18 dining venues, and so much more, you and your family will never be at a loss for things to do. Your biggest issue will be deciding what to do next. Interested? Click here for details, then give me a call or shoot me an email.
UPDATE: On March 25, Royal Caribbean announced that the Jewel of the Seas would start sailing from Cyprus beginning July 10. As with the other sailings, it will be available to adult guests who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those under the age of 18 with negative test results.
But Royal Caribbean is not the only cruise line changing things up to get cruising again. Celebrity Cruises just announced that the Celebrity Millennium will offer two new seven-night itineraries between June and August from its new base in St. Maarten. Ports of call will include Aruba, Barbados, Curacao, Tortola, and St. Lucia. With Celebrity’s “all-inclusive” cruising that includes all beverages, wifi, and gratuities in addition to the standard cruise inclusions, you cannot beat these amazing cruises.
Like Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, guests on the Millennium will also need to be vaccinated, with passengers under 18 presenting a negative covid test.
Celestyal Cruises is a Greek cruise line that sails out of Athens around the Greek Islands as well as to places like Israel, Turkey, and Egypt. This is the cruise line for you if you a looking for an authentic Greek experience in terms of food and experiences. Greece is planning to welcome visitors from all over the world, including the United States starting May 14 and Celestyal is there for it, with a resumption in cruising on May 29. Celestyal’s health protocols state that guests will need to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of sailing unless they can provide proof of vaccination.
Celestyal also offers “all-inclusive” cruising, with beverages, gratuities, and select shore excursions included on all sailings. This is the perfect way to dip your toes into Mediterranean sailings with an authentic twist.
Want to try Celestyal? Join One World Family Travel, LLC on an amazing 3 Continents/Eclectic Aegean cruise April 2-16, 2022. We will be sailing to Israel, Egypt, Turkey (with an overnight in Istanbul), as well as stops in Cyprus, Rhodes, Santorini, and more. Click here for details. Space is limited so don’t delay!
A few things to keep in mind with cruising for the foreseeable future:
- You will need a passport for the cruises departing from the Caribbean and Bahamas;
- US citizens are still required to present negative COVID tests to return home to the United States (we are still waiting for guidance from the cruise lines about how this will happen); and
- You will still be subject to the entry and if any, testing, requirements of the country you sail from.
As I mentioned, everything is fluid right now and constantly changing. I will keep you updated on all developments with the cruise industry as well as travel to the rest of the world. In the meantime, if you want to talk about your options for an amazing cruise vacation, give me a call or click here to schedule an appointment.