(5 p.m. EST) -- In this week's edition of our video series, "This Week in Cruise News," Cruise Critic's Managing Editor Chris Gray Faust talks about the sale of a popular Royal Caribbean Group cruise line, and tells you which cruise line is now requiring passengers to have a COVID-19 vaccine before they sail.
Stay tuned for next week's video update, and check out last week's video, where Cruise Critic's Managing Editor UK Adam Coulter talks about further pauses in operations, takes a look at the Alaska cruise season and discusses the big reveal from Carnival Corp CEO Arnold Donald.
Hello cruisers! I'm Chris Gray Faust, Cruise Critic's Managing Editor back with this week's cruise news roundup.
First, big news from the Royal Caribbean Group this week. The company sold its small ship brand Azamara to a private equity group named Sycamore Partners. Now, the new owners are keeping the line's old CEO and they've told the bookED passengers that nothing is going to change with their cruises this upcoming year.
We hope that's the case. The three ships in the fleet -- Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest and Azamara Pursuit -- are very popular with our readers, and for good reason. I sailed on Azamara Journey in the Greek Islands a couple years ago and really loved the friendly and attentive crew, who went out of their way to know everybody's names onboard by day one.
We also liked how the line went to islands that were a little bit off the beaten path, and they stayed longer in port. We'll be sure to tell you how and if things change for Azamara.
In other news, MSC Cruises will restart Mediterranean sailings from Italy on Sunday after a month-long pause. Now, these cruises are still only for Italians, but they've been important in the industry because they show that cruise ships with the right precautions in the right countries with lower COVID rates can sail successfully.
Finally, vaccines are on everybody's mind right now. Saga in the UK became the first cruise line to specifically say that they will require all passengers on board to have a COVID-19 vaccine before they travel.
Now, it's unclear whether more cruise lines will implement a vaccine requirement. It's probably safer to say that different countries, ports or even the airlines will be the ones requiring people to have vaccines for travel -- you know, a vaccine passport, if you will. Now, we've taken a look at what a vaccine passport might look, like so make sure to check out that link below.
As always, for more cruise news you can always go to CruiseCritic.com and click the "News" button, or check our links below. We'd also love your comments and your feedback, so "smash that like button," as they say!
As always, happy sailing!