Royal Caribbean became the first large-ship cruise line to sail to the “Last Frontier” with guests since September 2019, with the Serenade of the Seas departing on a first of a series of seven-night cruises from Seattle on July 19.
The resumption of cruising to Alaska comes as a huge relief for the state, which had significantly been impacted by the absence of all cruise tourism. Normally, Alaska gets more than 60 percent of its visitors from cruises, generating upward of $3 billion for its economy each year.
The itinerary for Serenade will include visits to classic cities and quaint towns like Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point, Alaska, as well as the Endicott Arm fjord and Dawes Glacier. The ship will be joined by Ovation of the Seas in Seattle starting August 13, rounding out Royal Caribbean’s Alaskan comeback in 2021.
Once again, guests of all ages can venture out to explore the untouched wilds of Alaska by sea. The sights will be in full view on board Serenade, thanks to ocean-facing glass elevators and floor-to-ceiling windows. Plus, there is a full lineup of guest amenities, including the rock climbing wall, poolside movie nights under the stars and dining venues such as Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table and Izumi.
Serenade is the cruise industry’s first ship to return to Alaska and the second in Royal Caribbean’s 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. Ninety-seven percent of the entire onboard community on Serenade of the Seas is fully vaccinated, Royal Caribbean said.
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 seven-night adventures to Skagway, Sitka and Juneau, Alaska and through the Inside Passage. The cruise line recently extended Ovation’s Alaska season into October with four additional sailings.
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 August 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.