Over the past week, four major cruise lines returned to the high seas — two of them sailing from U.S. ports — for the first time in more than a year.
Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Seabourn resumed sailings after the pandemic shut down the industry for more than a year.
Carnival President Christine Duffy, Carnival Vista Captain Andrea Catalani and local officials led a “Back to Fun” ribbon-cutting ceremony in Galveston, Texas, last weekend to celebrate Carnival Cruise Line’s resumption of guest cruises from the U.S.
“Seeing our guests board the ship for the first time in over 15 months was a welcome and emotional sight,” Duffy said in a statement. “The excitement our guests have for Carnival cruising knows no bounds and it’s great to be able to have them enjoy our unique vacation experience and of course see our amazing crew once again.”
Carnival Vista is finishing up a weeklong cruise with stops in Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Cozumel and Belize City.
Carnival Horizon also took to the seas again, sailing from PortMiami on July 4. Carnival Breeze will follow out of Galveston on July 15. Further north, Carnival Miracle kicks off the line’s Alaska season from Seattle on July 27. Mardi Gras, the line’s newest ship, sets sail from Port Canaveral on July 31. Other ships in the Carnival fleet will begin service in August, though specific itineraries remain in flux.
Crystal Cruises celebrated the resumption of its ocean cruise operations as Crystal Serenity set sail from the Port of Nassau on its "Luxury Bahamas Escapes," a seven-night voyage calling on the Bahamas.
Crystal Serenity will now home port in the Bahamas through November.
Crystal executives, Bahamian government officials and dignitaries from the port of Nassau gathered in Nassau for a Homeporting Inauguration Ceremony to welcome the cruise line's return to the high seas after a difficult year.
“We are delighted to celebrate this historic day in Nassau as Crystal Serenity resumes sailing and welcomes our guests, who we consider our Crystal family, back on board,” said Carmen Roig, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Crystal who was in the Bahamas for the festivities.
In Miami, Royal Caribbean selected Freedom of the Seas as its first ship in the U.S. to welcome guests and the first cruise ship to sail out of PortMiami. It set out last weekend with 93 percent of the ship's passengers and crew members fully vaccinated.
“We have a lot to celebrate. Families and loved ones can finally come together after more than a year apart, and we’re now welcoming them back on board to make up for that lost time,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
Seabourn resumed operations last Saturday and welcomed guests back on board Seabourn Ovation, which departed on a seven-day voyage from Piraeus (Athens), Greece. The ship will sail a series of seven-day voyages visiting ports throughout the Greek Isles through October 2021.
— from Cruiseable news services
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