Our experience sailing on the first Royal Caribbean ship to sail out of a US port in over 14 months!

July 2, 2021 was a huge day for cruising! Freedom of the Seas became the first Royal Caribbean ship to sail out of a U.S. port in over 14 months. To say we are thrilled for the restart of cruising is an understatement….. we are jumping for joy! Plus, one of our very own advisors was aboard this monumental sailing!

Our fabulous advisor, Lya, boarded Freedom of the Seas as a diamond member with Royal Caribbean. She is a #CruiseExpert and was ecstatic to sail once again. And, did she have the most amazing experience! 

She just arrived back yesterday, so we were able to talk with her about her experience aboard Freedom of the Seas.  Lya updated us with a ton of new protocols and experiences she had. “With such low capacity, you had the run of the ship. We did the waterslides, which we have actually never done! I almost did the Flowrider too!” 

She found the service to be outstanding.  “The crew was so overjoyed to see you. You couldn’t turn a corner without the crew saying Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I felt like a VIP walking into the Windjammer. The {crew} was ready and waiting! They started clapping and yelling as we entered. They were so happy!”

Unlike previous cruises, arriving early to the port no longer gives you a chance to board early.  Royal Caribbean will give you an arrival time. If you get there early, they will tell you can’t enter the port, you stay outside and have to wait. They are very strict on the arrival time as they do not want guests congregating.  Lya arrived at her assigned boarding time and found the process smooth and fast. She was on board within 15-20 minutes! 

Royal Caribbean is sailing with a mix of both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. Upon boarding, vaccinated guests were given a purple bracelet to wear that designated that they were vaccinated. On these first sailings, everyone is masking in public areas – vaccinated & unvaccinated alike. In the dining rooms, once you are seated and in outside areas  – no masks are required.  There were also certain designated areas throughout the ship for those guests who were fully vaccinated, in which no masking was required. On this sailing, unvaccinated guests could not go to the Casino or Spa. They chose those locations for vaccinated guests only,  since they had so few unvaccinated guests in total and most of them were children. That was a call by Royal Caribbean for this first set of sailings. 

One of the ports of call for this sailing was Perfect Day at CocoCay. “While the occupancy is low, CocoCay was much less crowded. It is a great time to go on a short cruise and take advantage. At one point of the day, we were sitting on Chill Island and we were one of eight people on the beach. It felt like I was on my own little private island all by myself!”

Lya was at CocoCay on July 4th, in which Royal Caribbean made sure to celebrate with guests and crew! “They had fireworks at CocoCay and brought in some of the other ships, as well. I got a little bit emotional. It just feels so good that things seem like they are getting back. The ships with crew that have been out at sea just waiting to restart, brought them close to CocoCay (about 4 or 5 ships) and everyone watched the fireworks. And when it was over, all the ships were blowing their horns and it was so awesome!”

Check out a video from July 4th at Perfect Day at CocoCay!

As sailings continue and more discussions happen with CDC – we will see the July and August protocols evolve as we enter Fall sailings.  But, CRUISING IS BACK and we can’t be more excited!  

Are you thinking of a cruise for 2021 or 2022? Now is the BEST time to reach out and start planning. And, it is the BEST time to use a travel advisor. With so many updates on a daily basis, we are constantly up to date on the ever-changing travel world.