March 25, 2021
(7 a.m. EST) -- Royal Caribbean International has confirmed its restart in Europe in July from new homeport Limassol, Cyprus.
The line will base Jewel of the Seas in Limassol from July 10, offering week-long cruises calling in at Athens and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Santorini through October.
The news comes at the same time as sister Celebrity Cruises announced its Europe restart from Athens in June. It also follows last week's restart announcements from The Bahamas with Adventure of the Seas and Bermuda with Vision of the Seas.
As with all these sailings, Royal is mandating all passengers and crew over 18-years-old are vaccinated and those under the age of 18 produce negative COVID-19 test results. Passengers will also have to adhere to whatever Cyprus' health and safety requirements for entry are in July.
The line has not stated at what capacity the 2,112-passenger ship will sail at, but it is likely to be significantly reduced to allow for new health and safety protocols to be implemented.
"I’m delighted to announce our safe and gradual return to Europe. We know how eager our guests are to enjoy a getaway this summer, and these sailings, which include a mix of fantastic destinations and must-visit islands, make for the perfect getaway," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
Bayley also made a point of thanking the Cypriot government for its "support and enthusiasm in making these incredible itineraries possible".
Savvas Perdios, the Deputy Minister of Tourism for Cyprus, said: "We are delighted that Royal Caribbean will call Limassol its homeport for the first time ever. This has been an ambition of ours for many years, and we are thrilled that, finally, this dream has come to fruition."
The Minister of Tourism of Greece, Harry Theoharis, said: "We warmly welcome the announcement of this new itinerary that will give the opportunity to even more visitors to create unique experiences in the Greek destinations this summer."
Royal has been sailing from Singapore since December at half capacity, safely carrying more than 50,000 passengers to date aboard Quantum of the Seas, and recently announced plans for Odyssey of the Seas to cruise from Haifa, Israel.
As well as all passengers over 18 being vaccinated, Jewel will sail with the comprehensive, multilayered health and safety measures drawn up by its Healthy Sail Panel, Royal Caribbean Group's Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer and local Greek health and government authorities. The line confirmed that the health and safety measures, including vaccination and testing requirements, will evolve with public health standards. Royal will announce further details on additional health and safety measures nearer the sail date.