Carnival Corporation president and CEO Arnold Donald and Carnival Cruise Line's president Christine Duffy (centre) celebrate the brand's return to service in the USA
Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Line have both embarked on their first cruises from the USA in more than 16 months, sailing out of PortMiami in Florida on 3 and 4 July respectively.
Sailing with a fully vaccinated crew and a new set of stringent health and safety measures, the newly refurbished Freedom of the Seas debuted with the first of a series of three-night weekend and four-day weekday itineraries to Nassau and Royal Caribbean’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, both in The Bahamas.
"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 onboard to make up for that lost time," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. "For a moment as meaningful as Fourth of July weekend, it couldn't be more appropriate that Freedom of the Seas be the first ship to ring in our return to cruising in the USA and delivering the memorable and safe vacations Royal Caribbean is known for. Summer family vacations are back, and we are just getting started."
Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Horizon departed from PortMiami on 4 July, taking guests on a six-day voyage to destinations including Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic and Half Moon Cay, the brand’s private island in The Bahamas.
Carnival Horizon’s return to service was marked during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Carnival Cruise Line’s president Christine Duffy, Carnival Corporation’s president and CEO Arnold Donald and Carnival brand ambassador John Heald.
"PortMiami is our number one homeport in terms of ships and passenger embarkations and today's return to cruising with Carnival Horizon represents an important first step in getting our company back to business while infusing much-needed capital to the thousands of workers who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihood," said Duffy. "The past year has been challenging to say the least and I wish to thank our state and local officials, PortMiami, and our business partners and suppliers for their incredible support and patience during this time."
Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line are planning to gradually reintroduce other ships to the market this year.
Nine Royal Caribbean ships are expected to restart service by August, including Anthem of the Seas in the UK, Serenade of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas in Alaska, and the new Odyssey of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The brand aims to resume full operations with its full fleet by the end of 2021.
Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista departed Galveston, Texas on 3 July and Carnival Breeze is due to start sailing from the same port on 15 July. Carnival Miracle will offer Alaskan itineraries from Seattle on 27 July, while the new Mardi Gras will set sail from Port Canaveral, Florida on 31 July, and other ships will return to the seas in August.
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