For the first time in more than twenty months, Grandeur of the Seas sailed for the very first time again, this time from its new homeport of Bridgetown, Barbados. The smallest cruise ship in the Royal Caribbean line-up departed on a 7-night Southern Caribbean island hop holiday cruise.
Grandeur of the Seas is only the third Royal Caribbean cruise ship that is not currently operating from a US homeport. Quantum of the Seas sails from Singapore, Explorer of the Seas operates from Puerto Rico, a United States territory and Spectrum of the Seas is sailing from Hong Kong.
Grandeur of the Seas has been laid up for over 20 months since March of last year when she arrived in the Port of Baltimore from a 12-day trip to the Caribbean. The vessel departed on her first cruise back in operation on December 5.
The first cruise will sail from Bridgetown to Scarborough, Tobago; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; St Georges, Grenada; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Roseau, Dominica; and Castries in St Lucia before she arrives back in Barbados on December 12.
Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, said:
“We are excited to grow our long standing partnership with Barbados and introduce Bridgetown as Royal Caribbean’s newest home port. Sailing from the heart of the Windward Islands unlocks new memorable vacations to share with family and friends in breathtaking places, such as Grenada, St. Lucia, and now St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago.”
Grandeur of the Seas will combine the 7-day Island Hop cruises with 7-days Southern Caribbean cruises that call Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, and Trinidad.
On January 9, the 73,817 gross ton Grandeur of the Seas will sail on a 14-day cruise exploring a more comprehensive range of Caribbean islands. Besides the islands in the Southern Caribbean itinerary, ports of call also include St Vincent, Cartagena in Colombia; Colon, Panama; and Scarborough in Tobago.
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship is currently the oldest and the smallest cruise ship in operation for Royal Caribbean International. The vessel has been scheduled to be transferred to Pullmantur Cruises. However, the 1994-passenger Grandeur remained in service for Royal Caribbean as Pullmatur ceased operations and is currently in administration.
Health Requirements for Barbados
As fits the times we are in, a new departure port brings different health requirements for guests onboard Grandeur of the Seas. While the vaccine mandates are the same as cruises from the US, there are some differences regarding shore excursions and testing requirements.
It is mandatory for all guests on December sailings from Barbados to book a tour if they wish to go ashore in certain ports of call, regardless of vaccination status. St. Maarten and Antigua are open to fully vaccinated visitors. Travelers with unvaccinated children must purchase a Royal Caribbean excursion to go ashore.
Also Read: IDEAL Things to Do in Barbados
The port areas of St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Grenada, and Dominica are open to all fully vaccinated passengers. If they wish to explore outside the port, they must purchase a tour through Royal Caribbean. The same counts for parties with unvaccinated children; they can only leave the vessel by booking a tour.
All guests who wish to go ashore in St. Vincent must purchase a tour through Royal Caribbean, regardless of vaccination status. The standard procedures apply in all other ports, although it is always good to check with the cruise line beforehand.
All Royal Caribbean guests age two and older, regardless of vaccination status, will need to take a COVID-19 antigen test at the terminal before boarding the ship. These are free of charge. This is besides the testing requirements in place for entry to Barbados.
Regardless of vaccination status, all Royal Caribbean guests aged two and older must take a complimentary COVID-19 antigen test provided by Royal Caribbean’s test provider to re-enter Barbados. Usually, this test will also satisfy re-entry requirements for guests in their home countries.
Grandeur of the Seas will continue cruising from Bridgetown Barbados for the next months, and will reposition to Galveston, Texas, in May 2022, for a series of 4- and 5-day cruises to the Western Caribbean.