Royal Caribbean Bases Ship in Bermuda to Resume North American Cruises

Royal Caribbean Bermuda based summer cruises
Royal Caribbean will resume cruises sailing from Bermuda in June 2021 (Royal Caribbean International)

Published Mar 23, 2021 5:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

Continuing its efforts to resume cruise operations, Royal Caribbean International will homeport a cruise ship in Bermuda offering 7-day cruises that combine Bermuda with a call at the company’s private island destination in the Bahamas. The program, which will be the first time a major cruise line has homeported a cruise ship in Bermuda, marks the fourth cruise ship the line plans to have in operation this summer and the second operating targeted to the North American cruise market. 

Beginning June 26 and through August, Royal Caribbean International will be operating 7-day cruises boarding the passengers in Bermuda and remaining overnight before cruising to the private port at CocoCay in the Bahamas. The innovative program makes cruises available to Americans outside the restrictions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said at a Senate hearing yesterday that it was still uncertain when circumstances would permit cruising to resume with the large ships sailing from the United States.

Royal Caribbean will be operating one of its oldest and smallest cruise ships, the Vision of the Seas, on this program. The 78,340 gross ton cruise ship was introduced in 1998 and underwent its last major renovation of passenger areas in 2013. Normal capacity is 2,050 passengers double occupancy, although Royal Caribbean has not announced if it will be restricting capacity during these initial start-up cruise programs.

"We are thankful to the government and people of Bermuda for welcoming us to their beautiful island nation with open arms as Vision of the Seas' new homeport. This is another step in our safe and measured return to sailing beginning in June," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Travelers are eager to venture out gradually and start cruising again. By adding a second unique option to sail the Caribbean from a destination as rich and vibrant as Bermuda, we're offering guests choice in how they can enjoy their well-deserved vacations this summer."

Like the company’s recently announced plan to base another cruise ship sailing from the Bahamas, this program will only be available to travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those under the age of 18 with negative test results. The crew working aboard the cruise ship will also have been vaccinated. Travelers must also meet the requirements of Bermuda, which currently includes a negative PCR test result before traveling, testing upon arrival into the country, and filling out appropriate entry forms.

"We look forward to welcoming Royal Caribbean passengers back to our shores and the opportunity for pre- and post-cruise stays in Bermuda. I am very excited that Bermuda will commence safe cruising this summer with our partner Royal Caribbean for their homeporting initiative from Bermuda to their private island Perfect Day at CocoCay," said The Hon. W. Lawrence Scott, JP, MP, Minister of Transport, Bermuda.

Royal Caribbean's 7-night sailings from Bermuda continue the cruise line's measured and safe return to cruising. The company’s first cruise ship to resume service was the Quantum of the Seas, which has now carried more than 50,000 passengers since starting short cruises from Singapore in December. Royal Caribbean plans to start its first cruises from Israel in May aboard the Odyssey of the Seas and in June will start the first North America cruises with the Adventure of the Seas homeported in the Bahamas and this Bermuda-based cruise program.

Royal Caribbean is the first of the large North American cruise companies to announce dates for their resumption of cruise travel. Other large companies, including Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, recently made encouraging statements to the trade saying that they would also be announcing restart plan in the near future.