Big-ship cruising is back in Alaska. Royal Caribbean International’s Serenade of the Seas departed Monday from Seattle on its first Alaska cruise since September 2019. Ninety-seven percent of the people on board are fully vaccinated, the cruise line announced.
The sailing marks a celebratory moment for the cruise industry, local workforce, regional suppliers and Alaska’s communities that were significantly impacted by the absence of most cruise tourism. Cruising normally represents more than 60 percent of the state’s visitors and generates upward of $3 billion for its economy each year.
Serenade of the Seas visits Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point, Alaska, as well as Endicott Arm fjord and Dawes Glacier. The ship will be joined by Ovation of the Seas in Seattle starting Aug. 13.
“Cruising in Alaska is finally back, and we are excited to be the first to return. Alaska is one of the most popular destinations among our guests, especially families with young kids – children who are ineligible for the vaccine today,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “This is a return that is significantly felt by many, including those whose communities rely on cruise tourism.”
Serenade is the cruise industry’s first large foreign-flagged ship to return to Alaska and the second in Royal Caribbean’s fleet to welcome guests in the U.S. after Freedom of the Seas set sail from Miami for a celebratory Fourth of July weekend.
Thirteen Royal Caribbean ships will be sailing around the world by the end of August, including Ovation of the Seas, which will operate seven-night adventures to Skagway, Sitka and Juneau and through the Inside Passage. The cruise line recently extended Ovation’s Alaska season into October with four additional sailings. With more to be announced, the largest cruise line’s current lineup of returning ships is available by clicking here.
Royal Caribbean requires that all crew members and guests who meet the age of eligibility for the vaccine are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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