Royal Caribbean opens first Alaska cruise season since 2019
Serenade of the Seas set sail on Monday, July 19 as the first cruise ship to head for Alaska since September 2019.
Serenade of the Seas has kicked off the highly anticipated comeback of the summer season when it departed on the first of a series of 7-night cruises from Seattle.
The sailing marks a celebratory moment for the cruise industry, local workforce, regional suppliers and Alaska’s beloved communities that were significantly impacted by the absence of all cruise tourism, which normally represents more than 60% of the state’s visitors and generates upwards of $3 billion for its economy each year. Ninety-seven percent of the entire onboard community on Serenade is fully vaccinated.
The ship will be joined by Ovation of the Seas in Seattle starting Aug. 13, rounding out Royal Caribbean’s great Alaska comeback in 2021.
Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, said:
“Cruising in Alaska is finally back, and we are excited to be the first to return. Alaska is one of the most popular destinations among our guests, especially families with young kids – children who are ineligible for the vaccine today. We are grateful for the support of our partners, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and other government and health authorities. This is a return that is significantly felt by many, including those whose communities rely on cruise tourism.”
Serenade is the cruise industry’s first ship to return to Alaska and the second in Royal Caribbean’s world-class fleet to welcome back guests in the U.S. after Freedom of the Seas set sail from Miami for a celebratory Fourth of July weekend. Thirteen Royal Caribbean ships will be sailing around the world by the end of August, including Ovation of the Seas, which is set to sail on 7-night adventures to Skagway, Sitka and Juneau, Alaska and through the famed Inside Passage. The cruise line recently extended Ovation’s Alaska season into October with four additional sailings. With more to be announced, the largest cruise line’s current lineup of returning ships is available here.
Royal Caribbean requires that all crew members and guests who meet the age of eligibility for the vaccine are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As of Aug. 1, the vaccine age requirement for travelers will be lowered from age 16 to 12. Children younger than the eligible age must undergo testing and follow other health and safety protocols.