(PRESS RELEASE)_MIAMI, July 3, 2021 – It’s official, Royal Caribbean International is back in the U.S. and delivering the long overdue cruise vacations that families and travelers of all ages have missed. A nearly 16-month journey led up to the moment yesterday when Freedom of the Seas became the first Royal Caribbean ship in the U.S. to welcome guests and the first cruise ship to do so from PortMiami, the cruise capital of the world. Sailing with 93% of the onboard 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 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday getaways to Perfect Day at CocoCay – the cruise line’s top-rated private island destination – and Nassau, 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 on board to make up for that lost time,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, 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 U.S. and delivering the memorable and safe vacations Royal Caribbean is known for. Summer family vacations are back, and we are just getting started.”
Marking the most celebratory Fourth of July weekend yet, the eagerly awaited comeback of the world’s largest cruise line has only just begun. Royal Caribbean is planning for nine more award-winning ships to return through August, including Anthem of the Seas in the U.K., Serenade and Ovation of the Seas in Alaska, and the brand-new Odyssey of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the coming weeks, the cruise line will announce plans to reintroduce its full fleet around the globe by year’s end. The complete 2021 lineup to date is available here.
Showcasing its $116 million transformation from March 2020, Freedom has a lineup of new features and amenities in store for guests of all ages, including The Perfect Storm duo of high-speed waterslides, a vibrant, resort-style Caribbean poolscape; the cruise line’s first Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and new, dedicated spaces for kids and teens. The amplified ship offers an all-around tropical escape from ship to shore, sailing to Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay, The Bahamas. At Royal Caribbean’s game-changing private island destination, there are next-level thrills and ways to chill, from the tallest waterslide in North America to the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, Oasis Lagoon; to the first floating cabanas in The Bahamas at Coco Beach Club. Between the decked-out experience on board and island hopping from one tropical destination to the next, Freedom’s 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday summer cruises from Miami are the perfect short getaways for families to maximize every moment of their precious vacation time.
Health and Safety Measures for Freedom of the Seas
Vacationers sailing on Freedom can cruise with peace of mind, knowing Royal Caribbean has ensured that all crew members on board are fully vaccinated and additional layers of health and safety measures are in place for their well-being. A full list of protocols for Freedom’s July cruises are available here, which includes the cruise line’s vaccination policies.
Specific to Royal Caribbean cruises departing from Florida, it is strongly recommended that guests 16 years of age and older (age 12 and older for sailings departing on or after Aug. 1) be fully vaccinated. Vacationers eligible but unvaccinated or unable to show proof of vaccination are required to undergo testing, follow additional health protocols and obtain travel insurance that covers medical and other costs related to COVID-19 at their own expense. Children ineligible for vaccines will be subject to complimentary testing and other protocols. The vaccine policy is one of the multiple measures, including the robust onboard ventilation system and enhanced cleaning and sanitization, that safeguard the health and safety of all guests, crew members and the communities at each port of call.
Made possible in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local authorities, Freedom is the cruise industry’s first ship to have successfully completed a simulated sailing and receive a Conditional Sailing Certificate from the CDC. The certificate confirms the health and safety measures that Royal Caribbean has in place fulfill the CDC’s guidance and requirements.
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