A large cruise ship was scheduled Monday to set sail from Seattle to Alaska for the first time since the commercial voyages were idled in 2020 due to Covid-19.
The cruise line industry heralded the trip by Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas as the return of the Alaska cruise ship season, with at least seven other Alaska sailings scheduled this summer. Passengers were required to be fully vaccinated to travel.
Other cruise ships expected to make ports of call in Alaska this summer include the Celebrity Millennium, which sets sail July 23; Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam, launching July 24; Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess, sailing on July 25; and Silverseas’ Silver Muse, bound for Alaska on July 29.
Norwegian Encore will begin sailing Aug. 7, Ovation of the Seas on Aug. 13, and Carnival Miracle on Aug. 15
The return of large cruise ships is not just important to cruise tourists and the industry but also to the Alaska economy, where the summer sailings bring in more than $3 billion in revenues for the tourism economy.
The Seattle-to-Alaska trip that left Monday is a seven-night cruise with stops in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, among other destinations. While the ship can carry more than 2,400 passengers it will not be full for this voyage, as the large ships will sail under capacity this summer to keep crowds to a minimum and allow for physical distancing.
Serenade of the Seas received permission from the Centers for Disease Control to return to its regular schedule after the ship successfully navigated a four-night test cruise in early July with 300 fully vaccinated passengers on board and extra health-safety measures in place.
Monday’s Alaska-bound trip mandated that passengers 16 and older show proof of vaccination, with the final dose given at least 14 days before sailing. After Aug. 1, the requirement drops to passengers 12 and older. Passengers under 16 will need to undergo Covid testing during the trip and may be subject to stricter health-safety guidelines.
Contact Linda F. Hersey at 907-459-7575 or follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.