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Carnival sails from Galveston, Royal Caribbean from Miami in US cruise restarts

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Top row: Carnival Vista gets 'back to fun' at the Port of Galveston with, at left, Port Director/CEO Rodger Rees, Carnival President Christine Duffy and Carnival Vista Capt. Andrea Catalani welcoming passengers. Below: Freedom of the Seas sails from PortMiami
Carnival Cruise Line is 'back to fun' and Royal Caribbean 'let freedom ring' with their sailings from Galveston and PortMiami, respectively.

To celebrate Carnival's resumption from the US, Carnival President Christine Duffy, Carnival Vista Capt. Andrea Catalani and local officials led a 'Back to Fun' ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Galveston terminal.

'Welcome and emotional'

'Seeing our guests board the ship for the first time in over 15 months was a welcome and emotional sight. 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,' Duffy said.

Added Catalani: 'Having our guests on board again is something we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. Our crew is very excited and will provide them with the incredible Carnival vacation they’ve been so patiently waiting for.”

Carnival Vista was starting a weeklong cruise to Mahogany Bay in Roatán, Cozumel and Belize City.

Vaccination mandate for adults

The line currently has a vaccination mandate for everyone who's eligible to receive the vaccine.

Carnival Horizon to sail July 4 and ...

In addition to Carnival Vista’s departure, Carnival Horizon begins sailing from PortMiami July 4, Carnival Breeze from Galveston July 15 and Carnival Miracle from Seattle to Alaska July 27. The brand-new Mardi Gras is to debut from Port Canaveral July 31. Other Carnival ships will begin service in August.

Freedom of the Seas from PortMiami

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas sailed Friday from PortMiami, kicking off that brand's US resumption.

93% on board are vaccinated

Sailing with 93% of the on-board community fully vaccinated and just in time for Fourth of July weekend, Freedom set off on the first cruise of a summer-long series of three-night weekend and four-night weekday getaways to Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau. The line has no vaccination mandate on cruises from Florida although it strongly encourages vaccination.

'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,' Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley said.

Meaningful weekend

'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 US and delivering the memorable and safe vacations Royal Caribbean is known for,' Bayley added. 'Summer family vacations are back, and we are just getting started.'

Showcasing its $116m transformation from March 2020, Freedom has new features and amenities including The Perfect Storm duo of high-speed waterslides and a resort-style Caribbean poolscape. The ship also sports the line's first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and new, dedicated spaces for kids and teens.

Nine more Royal ships to return through August

Royal Caribbean is planning for nine more ships to return through August, including Anthem of the Seas in the UK, Serenade and Ovation of the Seas in Alaska from the Port of Seattle and the brand-new Odyssey of the Seas from Port Everglades. In the coming weeks, the line said it will announce plans to reintroduce its full fleet around the globe by year’s end. The complete 2021 lineup to date is available here.

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