Two cruise lines -- Royal Caribbean and Celebrity -- have announced they are coming back to the Caribbean this summer with new cruises from the Bahamas and St. Maarten. We have the full scoop on the biggest news in the cruise industry in a year.
Royal Caribbean is putting its ship, Adventure of the Seas, in the Bahamas, where it will sail on week-long cruises to its private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, Grand Bahama and Cozumel, Mexico.
And Celebrity is basing Celebrity Millennium in St. Maarten, where it will sail two weeklong itineraries. One goes to Aruba, Curacao and Barbados, while the other visits St. Lucia and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, as well as Barbados.
Here are five things you should know about these exciting new cruises.
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Number 1: You'll need a vaccine.
Both ships have similar vaccination requirements. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean are requiring all passengers and crew older than 18 to be fully vaccinated. Children and teens are also welcome, as long as they test negative for COVID-19 before they board.
Unlike cruises that are restarting in other parts of the world, these cruises are open to all vaccinated passengers, regardless of nationality.
What's great about this is that you'll be sailing on a ship where everyone has been protected against coronavirus -- so you'll feel safer onboard. The staff at Royal Caribbean's private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, will also be vaccinated, so you'll feel safe on shore too.
Number 2: You'll need to be tested
Both the Bahamas and St. Maarten have specific rules about who can come into their island countries. Before you fly in, you'll probably need to take a COVID-19 PCR test, and then test again when you arrive. In addition, the US currently requires people coming back from other countries to provide a negative test.
It all sounds like a lot, but it's important to know that procedures and policies are changing all the time. If things change, the lines will notify you before you sail. Both cruise lines have vowed to follow the latest science when making and adjusting policies.
Number 3: The season is limited -- and you'll need a passport.
Both lines are offering these sailings on a limited basis --from June through August. The timing is really perfect for people who are ready to get together with their friends and family, after all these months apart.
One thing to note is that since these ships are leaving out of the Bahamas and St. Maarten, everyone in your party must have a passport. If you don't have one, or you know other people you are going with need one, now is the time to apply and plan ahead.
Number 4: These itineraries are all about the sun.
With two full days at Royal Caribbean's private island, you'll have plenty of time to be outside and in the water, if you want. Perfect Day at CocoCay also has the tallest waterslide in North America; a helium balloon that floats up to 450 feet in the air, and the first floating cabanas in the Bahamas at Coco Beach Club.
Because the ship is staying later, there are also opportunities to catch the sunset while on the island. Other stops include Grand Bahama Island and Cozumel, one of everyone's favorite ports.
And while keeping guests, crew and destinations safe and healthy is the top priority for these cruise lines, both promise a boatload of fun.
Number 5: The ships have been refurbished.
Both Celebrity and Royal are starting this Caribbean season with recently refurbished ships.
Adventure of the Seas was refurbished just a few years ago and has loads of things to do, including three major waterslides -- The Perfect Storm and dual racers Cyclone and Typhoon. There's also a FlowRider surf simulator and a kids aqua park Splashaway Bay.
Meanwhile, Celebrity Millennium has undergone what Celebrity calls its "revolution" process. The ship looks more like the newer ones in the fleet, in terms of having a chic design and look. It also has new digital technology and The Retreat for suite guests. Celebrity also recently switched its pricing so Wi-Fi, tips and drinks are now included.
It's all exciting news for cruise lovers who can't wait to get back to the Caribbean. We want to know what you think! Drop us a note in the comments below. Be sure to hit the like button and share this video with a fellow cruiser. See you on the seas!