(3:30 p.m. EDT) -- Royal Caribbean will be deploying Vision of the Seas in Bermuda for summer 2021 cruises, sailing with a vaccine requirement for crew and adult passengers
The weeklong cruises depart from the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda, beginning June 26. They will sail to Royal Caribbean's private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, and will offer an overnight stay in Bermuda.
Bookings for the cruises begin Monday, March 29.
The health and safety requirements for the Bermuda sailings are similar to those that Royal Caribbean announced last week for its Adventure of the Seas cruises out of the Bahamas, as well as sister line Celebrity Cruises' sailings in St. Maarten. Those itineraries also start in June.
All adult passengers over the age of 18, as well as crew, will have to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Children and teens under 18 can still also sail, with proof of negative COVID-19 test results.
Bermuda has its own health requirements to enter. Everyone must take a COVID-19 PCR test up to five days before traveling, as well as test upon arrival into the country. Currently, COVID-19 testing is required before coming back into the United States as well. A valid passport is also required for entry into Bermuda.
In its release announcing the sailings, Royal Caribbean pointed out that its health and safety protocols may evolve; for now, it will follow the guidelines of its Healthy Sail Panel, which requires masks in public rooms, social distancing and a requirement that passengers only go ashore as part of ship-sponsored shore excursions.
"We are thankful to the government and people of Bermuda for welcoming us to their beautiful island nation with open arms as Vision of the Seas' new homeport," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
"This is another step in our safe and measured return to sailing beginning in June.
"Travelers are eager to venture out gradually and start cruising again. By adding a second unique option to sail the Caribbean from a destination as rich and vibrant as Bermuda, we're offering guests choice in how they can enjoy their well-deserved vacations this summer."
Vision of the Seas usually carries 2,050 passengers, at double occupancy. The line has not said how many passengers will be on the new sailings, but it's been the general practice of returning ships to initially have reduced capacity.
The addition of Bermuda as a 2021 homeport brings Royal's upcoming list of homeport countries to four. Cruise lines are increasingly eyeing international restarts as the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) continues to lag on resuming sailings from United States' homeports.
The line is currently sailing out of Singapore, on Quantum of the Seas, and will begin sailing from Israel in May on its newbuild Odyssey of the Seas. Adding new departures from the Bahamas onboard Adventure of the Seas and now Bermuda aboard Vision of the Seas to its roster makes cruising easily accessible for vaccinated Americans and international travelers, and also allows the line to take advantage of its own private island.
Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain had alluded to more international sailings in his video yesterday, He also noted that the line had switched from a protocol-based resumption of sailing to one that is mostly centered around vaccines.
He also said that the line would continue to work with the CDC on the resumption of cruising in the U.S. But he noted that the 'Framework for Conditional Sailing,' which currently has kept the cruise industry in limbo, is out of date, now that vaccines have entered the picture.
'The Conditional Sailing Order was a very positive step at the time, but that time has passed,' he said.