Lynn Elmhirst, BestTrip TV’s cruise expert, explains.
At least three cruise lines have given up waiting for the slow wheels of bureaucracy to overturn cruise bans in US and Canadian waters. Instead, they’ve announced plans for offshore cruising.
And chances are, we’ll be seeing more.
Ships that once sailed from the States into the Caribbean now have new homeports in the islands.
They’ve come up with new itineraries eager cruise travellers will love, and health and safety measures that will make guests confident to cruise again. These cruise lines, or their sister cruise lines, have already been sailing successfully in other places around the world, and are putting those practices to good use for returning guests from North America.
Beginning in July til at least October, the ultra-luxury Crystal Serenity will be homeporting in The Bahamas, just 50 miles off Florida.
(Courtesy Crystal Cruises)
The Serenity will be cruising two series of 7-night cruises. One series sails round trip from Nassau, and the other, round trip from Bimini. They’re bubble cruises: all-Bahamian itineraries that keep returning cruisers close to home, and all within a single jurisdiction, without risk of border closures.
Pre-and post-cruise land/hotel stays are also available, and cruisers will also be able to enjoy the famous private island oasis The Beach Club at Bimini, as well as experience four other idyllic Bahamian islands, most of which have until now only been accessible to private yachts, like Harbour Island, ‘The Nantucket of the Caribbean’, Great Exuma, renowned for its swimming pigs, San Salvador Island, and Long Island.
The newly renovated Celebrity Millennium will homeport in the island of St. Maarten from the first week of June through at least August.
(The Retreat on the Celebrity Millennium; Top Photo Courtesy Celebrity Cruises)
The Millennium will sail 2 series of 7-night cruises in ‘modern luxury.’ One itinerary features two other Dutch Caribbean islands: Aruba and Curacao, as well as Barbados. The other itinerary includes Tortola, St. Lucia and Barbados.
Celebrity will offer a range of curated tours at every port of call, and the cruise line is also offering small group or private tours for guests preferring to explore the destinations with only members of their family or travel bubble.
Mega-cruise ship line Royal Caribbean is launching new homeports in the Caribbean for two of its ships this summer, both beginning their new itineraries in June, and sailing at least through August.
Adventure of the Seas will homeport in Nassau, The Bahamas, and Vision of the Seas will homeport in Bermuda.
Both ships’ itineraries call at Royal’s acclaimed private island Perfect Day at CocoCay, with 13 waterslides including the tallest on the continent, a tethered balloon ride, floating cabanas, beaches, and the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean.
(Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay)
Guests on Adventure of the Seas will have two, back-to-back days at CocoCay, as well as quality time exploring Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas and Cozumel, Mexico.
Vision of the Seas guests spend a full day at CocoCay, and an overnight amongst the pink sands and colourful homes of homeport Bermuda.
Royal Caribbean has also just announced its first Mediterranean series of summer sailings open to vaccinated guests from all countries. Beginning in July and running through at least October, Jewel of the Seas will homeport in Cyprus for the first time, and sail 7-night cruises along the captivating coastlines of Cyprus and Greece, calling at culture-rich cities and idyllic islands, including Limassol, Athens, Greece and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Santorini.
And Celebrity will also sail in the Mediterranean this summer, homeporting the brand-new Apex in Athens, Greece, sailing 7-night cruises beginning in June: one itinerary to Greek islands like Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes as well as Cyprus; and another to Greek islands as well as to the Israeli ports of Haifa and Jerusalem, Israel.
Some other cruise lines are also sailing in North America this summer, with ships small enough they’re exempt from restrictions imposed on larger ships, and can sail from their regular homeports in American or Canadian waters.
US river cruise lines American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company have begun their seasons of sailing in American waterways including itineraries along the Mississippi and Columbia rivers.
UnCruise Adventures focuses on American coastal waters, including Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, and 2021 is no exception, thanks to the intimate size of its ships.
Lindblad, with roots in Sweden and a long-term partner with National Geographic expeditions, also expects to be sailing with its fleet of small ships in Alaska by June, as well as on itineraries in Galapagos and Iceland.
Canadian-based St. Lawrence Cruise Lines and Le Boat offer Canadian options in the Great Lakes region this year.
Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.