Following collaboration with government officials and evolving guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Princess Cruises plans to return to sailing from these US ports from Sept. 25 through Nov. 28, 2021. Board any of eight different Princess ships which will take you to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaii, and the California Coast.
“It is a thrill for us to be able to bring more cruise vacation options to our travel-starved guests,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We appreciate the support of government and port officials who we worked closely with to make these travel opportunities available, in a thoughtful and safe way, for our guests.”
Cruising is Back, With or Without a Vaccine
Princess Cruises sailings through 2021 are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the beginning of the cruise. You must show proof of vaccination. Crew vaccinations will be in accordance with CDC guidelines.
While 80 percent of those recently surveyed by CruiseCritic.com said they would prefer to sail on a ship that requires vaccines of all crew and guests, there is still a lot of political wrangling in Florida and Texas on whether cruise lines can require vaccinations from all passengers.
It is also wise, public health experts say, to wait to cruise until kids ages 12 and older have had their vaccines.
Guests will be notified before the final payment should the vaccine approach change. Guests also will be informed in the coming weeks about any changes in dining, entertainment and shore excursion options that may result from stringent public health protocols.
Princess Pioneers Contactless Service
Princess, which pioneered the OceanMedallion contactless service option a few years ago, will resume operations in Alaska—cruising in back with seven-day cruises starting July 25 through Sept. 26 onboard Majestic Princess, a Medallion Class ship.
The line’s super-charged internet connectivity allows your friends and family to stay apprised of your adventures (and you to check in with your office if you must.) Onboard, your OceanMedallion is a wearable device that enables everything from touch-free boarding to locating your loved ones anywhere on the ship, as well as enhanced service like having whatever you need delivered.
Princess has also unveiled the Dine My Way program that gives guests the freedom to make reservations onboard whenever they prefer, including sharing dietary preferences and where they want to sit.
Earn Bragging Rights as the First One Aboard
There is more exciting cruise news as well. If you want to be among the first to cruise on a brand new ship, Carnival Cruise Line has announced the first cruise for Mardi Gras and the return of additional ships later this summer.
Mardi Gras, Carnival Cruise Line’s most innovative ship, is the first ship in the Americas powered by the more eco-friendly Liquified Natural Gas (most ships are diesel-powered). The ship has a wide range of outdoor attractions, including the longest ropes course and largest water park in the fleet with the much-anticipated BOLT Ultimate Sea Coaster.
Her Family Harbor staterooms accommodate up to five people and have an extra bathroom. Additionally, Family Harbor guests have access to a lounge that offers breakfast, snacks, board games and video games.
Good Reasons Why Cruising is Back
Not everything about cruising has changed. Parents and grandparents love it because they get a lot of bang for their vacation buck: activities, meals, and lodging all for one price, including morning-till-night programming for kids and adults, at considerably less than many resorts charge.
The cohort that has been called Skip-Gen Travel -– grandparents traveling with grandkids and leaving parents behind –- also flock to cruises because they are an easy way to travel with grandchildren without having to entertain them 24/7.
Fifth-six percent of those surveyed by CruiseCritic.com report they are already looking to book a cruise; 67 percent are ready to sail from the US in the next six months, preferably to the Caribbean and Bermuda.
Alaska is This Summer’s Favorite Destination on Land or Sea
Several other Alaska cruise options are available this summer. Holland America Line will resume its cruise operations July 24 to Alaska with seven-day itineraries aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. Ports include Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, and Ketchikan, with scenic cruising in Alaska’s iconic locales, including Glacier Bay and Stephens Passage.
Late July also sees Carnival Cruise Line starting weekly departures from Seattle on July 27. Their seven- and eight-day Alaska cruise options continue until Sept. 14, 2021.
Meanwhile, there are also options to sail from Caribbean ports and in the Mediterranean. Luxury Seabourn Cruise Line, known for unique all-inclusive cruises on smaller ships, will be cruising in Greece and around the Caribbean this summer, for example, while you can also sail in Greece and the Mediterranean this fall aboard Holland America’s Eurodam.
It’s Time to Cruise
Look for value-added amenities, including drink packages, free Wi-Fi, cabin upgrades and specialty dining, as well as new itineraries. Princess Cruises, for example, will be sailing Southeast Asia on seven-day trips during the 2022-23 season. Closer to home, Holland America is touting Caribbean cruises—more than 80 sailings in 2022-2023 that will include visits to their private island, Half Moon Bay, boasting two miles of white sand beaches.
The 2021 Taking the Kids Cruise Guide will help you plan.
So are you ready?
Author Eileen Ogintz has traveled the world with her family for her nationally syndicated travel column, Taking The Kids. A big fan of family cruising, she has authored this post about Atlas Ocean Voyages for sponsor FamilyTravelConsulting.com.
A Note From Melody
And the crowds go wild…Melody cheers…cruise enthusiasts worldwide share one big virtual high five to welcome back the cruise industry. Take your pick — Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Fort Lauderdale because cruising is back.
I am a cruise junkie with 52 cruises under my belt. I love the Carnival family of cruise lines- Princess, Carnival, and Holland America. Alaska was one of my first cruises about a dozen years ago and has been on my wish list to see it through a blogger’s eyes and get much better pictures (I’ve upped my game since then) for a couple of years. Perhaps this year, I will finally make it back. While I love cruising anywhere, Europe is probably my favorite place to sail. And what about those OceanMedallion wearable devices? Super cool!
If you haven’t cruised with Princess, I will say that even after cruising with some of the competitive cruise lines, my entire family still picks Princess as their very favorite, even though we haven’t sailed with them in nearly ten years. That’s really saying something, especially since seasoned cruisers know that the cruising life gets more sophisticated and savvy every year. I truly love Holland America and Carnival, too, and each cruise has it’s own special things that make the vacation memorable and special.
My favorite things to do on Princess? Play trivia, attend afternoon tea, and enjoy the British Pub lunch if they still offer it. My family has made many memories of sailing with Princess Cruises, and we are thrilled that cruising is back. Our next vacation will involve taking Scarlett, my only grandchild, so special memories are in store for our multi-generational family real soon.
If you have any cruise questions, I’m happy to answer them. Drop me a line!
Here are some images from a multitude of Pittman family ocean cruises.