Two more Royal Caribbean ships have received their Conditional Sailing Certificates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The occasion marks the return of Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world. The Oasis-class ship will now start sailing cruises to the Caribbean from Miami on August 14. Quantum-class Ovation of the Seas will be the second Royal Caribbean cruise ship operating cruises from Seattle to Alaska when she sets off on August 13.
In the months leading to the restart of cruises in the United States, a lot of attention was placed on the requirements that cruise ships had to comply with to start sailing. One requirement is the test cruises needed to be able to sail with both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests.
During the test cruises, cruise lines operate ships with volunteer passengers to prove their new protocols work. These volunteers can be anything from cruise line employees or travel agents to volunteers. The test cruises are part of the CDC’s pathway, allowing Royal Caribbean to sail with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated guests.
So far, Royal Caribbean is showing that the test cruises are no issue at all, and actually allow the cruise line to perform a shakedown for each vessel. Royal Caribbean has completed test sailings with eight different vessels.
Ovation of the Seas left for her test cruise on July 30. The 168,666 gross ton, 4,180 passenger cruise ship completed a 5-night test cruise from Seattle, returning to Seattle on August 4. In the meantime, Symphony of the Seas also completed her test sailing. She departed from PortMiami on August 1 for a 3-day voyage which included a visit to a Perfect Day At CocoCay.
Three more Royal Caribbean ships are scheduled for test cruises. On August 22, Oasis of the Seas will sail from Cape Liberty, and Liberty of the Seas will sail on September 18 from Galveston. Mariner of the Seas is currently sailing on her test cruise from Port Canaveral.
Ovation of the Seas Sails to Alaska
Ovation of the Seas will join Serenade of the Seas in Alaska this week when she sails from her homeport of Seattle. Ovation of the Seas will be cruising from Seattle on 7-night cruises starting August 13 to Skagway, Sitka, and Juneau, Alaska. The ships will also sail through the inside passage, giving guests an extraordinary view, especially from the 360° North Star.
Cruises onboard the Quantum-class ship to Alaska are available through October for all guests aged 12 and above who can present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing. Guests under the age of 12 will need to undergo testing before the cruise, when arriving at the terminal, and while onboard.
The Largest Cruise Ship in the World Starts Operations
The world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, will restart operations with revenue guests on August 14; sailing from PortMiami, the 228,081 gross tons cruise ship will sail on a 7-days Western Caribbean cruise to Costa Maya, Roatan Island, Cozumel, and a Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas.
She will be switching her cruises between the Western, Southern, and Eastern regions of the Caribbean. Her Southern Caribbean cruises will call in Aruba, Haiti, and Curacao, while the Eastern Caribbean cruises will call in St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and a Perfect Day at CocoCay. Royal Caribbean strongly encourages all eligible guests age 12 and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before sailing for the Southern and Western Caribbean Cruises.
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Guests will need to be fully vaccinated for the cruises calling in St. Thomas. These voyages are available to all guests aged 12 and above who can present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing. Guests under the age of 12 will need to undergo COVID testing, before, during, and towards the end of the cruise.
So far, there are two Oasis-class ships and two Quantum-class ships in operation in the U.S., and as we speak, the number of RCL cruise ships operational worldwide is growing steadily. The restart for Royal Caribbean is slowly but surely turning out to be a complete success!