Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Will Resume Summer Mediterranean Cruises
The Royal Caribbean Group is continuing to move forward with its plans to resume cruise operations further expanding its international cruises. Two of the company’s brands added summer cruise programs in the Eastern Mediterranean. The company has now announced plans for seven cruise ships to be operating during the summer months.
The group’s contemporary brand Royal Caribbean International announced plans for its first cruise program departing from the island of Cyprus. The 90,000 gross ton Jewel of the Seas will start sailing on July 10 offering 7-night cruises. Ports for the program include Piraeus, Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini.
“I’m delighted to announce our safe and gradual return to Europe. We know how eager our guests are to enjoy a getaway this summer, and these sailings, which include a mix of fantastic destinations and must-visit islands, make for the perfect getaway,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
The Minister of Tourism for Cyprus Savvas Perdios also thanked Royal Caribbean for its decision to base a ship in Limassol. Currently, the cruise line has scheduled the Cyprus cruise program to run through October 2021.
Celebrity Cruises, the Royal Caribbean Group’s premium cruise line, also announced that it would begin cruises from Athens on June 19. The summer 7-day cruise program is scheduled to sail through September 2021 aboard the line’s newest cruise ship, the 130,800 gross ton Celebrity Apex. This cruise ship has been waiting a year for its maiden voyage as it was handed over to Celebrity in the spring of 2020 but unable to enter service.
Celebrity will also be focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean for these cruises. The ship will stop at Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini, Greece; Limassol, Cyprus; and Haifa, Israel. Earlier in the week, Celebrity announced its first ship back in service would be cruising the Caribbean this summer.
Both of the cruise lines will implement a policy requiring all adult passengers to have completed a full vaccination program while passengers under 18 years of age are required to have a negative COVID-19 test. Also, all crew members aboard both ships will be vaccinated. The companies note that these policies may evolve and that passengers will also have to meet the requirements of Greece and Cyprus.
The Royal Caribbean Group is the first of the major American cruise companies to announce their restart plans using destinations outside the jurisdiction of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Europe-based cruise lines including Costa and MSC are also working to launch summer Eastern Mediterranean cruise programs. Greece has been one of the first nations to move to restore its vital international tourist trade.