Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises announced Friday they are resuming North America cruises in June with sailings out of the Bahamas and St. Martin. These sailings will mark an end to the cruise lines’ year-long halt of operations amid the pandemic.
Both cruise lines said adult passengers on the ships would need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to sail, and children could sail with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Crew members on board will also be vaccinated.
“The vaccines are clearly a game changer for all of us,” Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said in a release. “And with the number of vaccinations and their impact growing rapidly, we believe starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice.”
Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas is set to sail on June 12 with stops in the Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico. Celebrity’s Millenium will leave port on June 5 stopping in Aruba, Curaçao and Barbados. Bookings for both cruises open next week.
“Returning to the Caribbean after more than a year away is such a significant moment for us,” Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said. “It marks the measured beginning of the end of what has been a uniquely challenging time for everyone.”
The seven-day cruises won’t involve departure or stops at any U.S. ports, allowing them to get around CDC approval.
Since March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has blocked cruise ships that carry more than 250 people from sailing in U.S. waters. It is still unclear when that “no sail” order will be lifted. The agency published a four-step framework in November for a phased resumption of cruise ship passenger operations.
“We are in phase one of that moving towards phase two,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a briefing on Thursday. “This is an inter-agency decision, it is not a decision solely up to the CDC.”
The CDC is still not recommending travel, even for those who are vaccinated.
ABC News’ Gio Benitez contributed to this report.
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