These weeklong vacations include the first series of two consecutive days on Perfect Day at CocoCay where all staff will be vaccinated, Freeport on Grand Bahama Island and Mexico's Cozumel.
For vaccinated crew and passengers over 18, those younger with negative tests
The new cruises, starting June 12, will sail with vaccinated crew and be available to adult passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those under 18 with negative test results. In addition, vacationers must meet the Bahamas' travel requirements, which may include a negative PCR test before arrival, testing upon arrival and a Bahamas health visa.
Departures are planned through August, and bookings open March 24.
Vaccines a game-changer
'We are excited to get back to delivering memorable vacations in the Caribbean, gradually and safely,' said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. 'The vaccines are clearly a game-changer for all of us, 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.'
This requirement and other measures are expected to evolve over time, he added.
'The opportunity to homeport in the Bahamas is a testament to the tremendous partners the government and the people of the island nation have been to us for more than 50 years,' Bayley said. 'We are grateful for the confidence that they have in us and our commitment to a healthy and happy return to sailing.'
'A positive step'
'Many people are already traveling safely to the Caribbean and with the health and safety protocols being put in place for these sailings, we are confident that this will be met with excitement from consumers,' said Drew Daly, SVP and general manager of Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. 'This is a positive step forward in the rebuilding and recovery of the cruise industry.'
Second cruise line to announce Bahamas homeporting
Royal Caribbean is the second line to announce Bahamas homeporting, following Crystal Cruises, though Adventure's June startup precedes Crystal Serenity's on July 3.
'New day for tourism' in the Bahamas
'... News that the cruise industry is going to begin homeporting in the Bahamas is exciting,' Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said. 'Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of passengers will experience Nassau or Grand Bahama in ways they never had the opportunity to before.'
Minnis is 'especially pleased that Royal Caribbean, with whom we have had a long and mutually beneficial relationship for more than 50 years, selected the Bahamas as a homeport when sailing resumes.' He added: 'This is truly a new day for tourism. It should inspire many small- to medium-sized businesses, tour operators, taxi drivers, restaurants and retailers to prepare for brighter days ahead, the best we have ever had.'
For his part, Tourism Minister Dionisio D'Aguilar said: 'We have been preparing diligently for the last many months to ensure an experience that is equally safe and enjoyable. We are confident that cruise goers will receive the warm, friendly hospitality the Bahamas is famous for.'