As we look to the beginning of summer, which officially begins on June 20th, eagerness for adventure and travel is at an all-time high. Lockdowns, travel restrictions, and business closures have made life stand still. This year, many are ready to dust off their suitcases and get back out into the world of travel.
Cruises Resume This Summer
A big announcement from Celebrity Cruises came just days ago as they declared that their cruises have resumed. The travel industry, particularly the cruise industry, was hit incredibly hard by COVID-19. In fact, it’s been over a year since the last cruise ship set sail in March 2020, following the CDC's no sail order. In 2019, the cruise industry carried just over 25 million passengers.
The CDC has updated its policy for cruise ships, making a lot of people happy. Cruise liners may apply for a Conditional Sailing Order and follow the technical instructions of the CDC to prepare for "trial" voyages. This is leading up to restricted passenger voyages.
Alas, for you seafarers out there, the time has officially come. Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and others have announced that they will resume cruises this year, as early as mid-June. Whether you are looking to set sail for the Bahamas, the Caribbean, or Alaska, a cruise is leaving a port near you.
Celebrity Cruises is set to sail out of Philipsburg, St. Maarten, which is the Dutch side of St. Martin, with stops at Aruba, Curaçao, and Barbados. Celebrity Cruises was also cleared to sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL and will resume departures beginning June 26, 2021.
Royal Caribbean also announced that it will resume cruises. Sailings from the Bahamas will begin on June 12 and more will follow. Royal Caribbean is strongly recommending that passengers be fully vaccinated before boarding the ship, but will not require proof of vaccination, following a new Florida law which fines companies $5,000 each time they ask for proof of vaccination.
Norwegian Cruise Lines has announced that it will resume departures from Florida this August as well. MSC Cruises, the world's third largest cruise line, just announced Monday that it will be resuming cruises out of the port of Miami starting in August as well.
The Cruise Industry is Optimistic Again
Cruise lines re-opening is not just positive news for people who enjoy cruises, it’s welcoming news for everyone because it signals something far more important; the world is beginning to return to some form of normalcy.
Depending on where you live, you may or may not have been able to eat inside a restaurant lately. You may or may not have been able to go to a bar or nightclub recently. You may or may not have traveled outside your state, but you certainly did not take a cruise to the Bahamas.
Cruise liners were unfortunately out of business for a long time, but for good reason. COVID-19 is a real virus that is easily spread when people are in close quarters with one another. Hence, having a couple thousand people within close proximity to each another on a ship, is not a great idea.
But now cruises are opening again, and it's a sign that people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of travel. It signals that the pandemic is waning. It highlights the optimism that many have about the future.
Other International Travel Destinations are Opening up
For those that prefer land destinations, these announcements bode well for other summer getaways. Recently, Italy announced that it will welcome travelers from the U.S., if you take one of Delta's "COVID tested flights." To take one of Delta's flights, you must test negative 48 before the flight, at the time of boarding, and again upon arrival to your destination.
Until very recently, Americans could only fly to Italy for essential purposes, but now any American -for business or pleasure- can go to Italy.
Spain announced on Monday June 7th that it will begin welcoming tourists as well. In order to travel to Spain from high-risk countries, travelers must be fully vaccinated 14 days prior to the start of their trip. The vaccine must be one approved by the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency (which includes the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines). Travelers who are from low-risk countries may travel at will, with no proof of vaccination.
Like many other countries, Spain closed its boarders for months to quell the spreading pandemic. Spain is also like many countries in that it relies in part on tourism for its economic growth. This news is welcomed by Americans seeking to travel to Spain, but it also bodes well for the Spanish who need tourism to pick back up.
If you're looking to make plans this summer and beyond, you can always check our updated vaccine and testing requirements for every single country.