After being moored by thefor over a year, the US cruise industry has been preparing to resume operations this summer. Royal Caribbean said on Friday that six of its ships would start from ports in Florida and Texas starting next month.
The Miami-based cruise line credited the successful vaccine rollout in preparation for its comeback after being shut down by COVID-19 last year.
“To date, 90% of all vacationers booking with Royal Caribbean are either vaccinated or plan to be vaccinated in time for their cruise,” Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean, said in a statement.
All crew members aboard cruises will be vaccinated and guests are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated. Customers who are not vaccinated or who are unable to prove they are will need to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date, Royal Caribbean said.
The Freedom of the Seas ship will depart Miami on July 2 for the Bahamas, kicking off a season that will extend through the end of August to include 12 Royal Caribbean ships carrying vacationers to the Caribbean, the Alaska and Europe, the company said.
Royal Caribbean ships will depart Fort Lauderdale on July 3; from Seattle on July 19; from Port Canaveral on August 8; and Galveston, Texas, starting Aug. 15, according to the cruise line.
The company’s summer range includes international ports across the Atlantic, such as Barcelona, Rome and Provence, France.
Royal Caribbean previously announced its return to sailing with departures this month from the Bahamas and in July from the United Kingdom and Cyprus.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set conditions for cruise lines to resume navigation for the first time since March 2020, includingbe immune to the coronavirus.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a law banning companies from requiring customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with his state previously