(5:30 a.m. EDT) -- Royal Caribbean International will restart sailing from the U.K. on Anthem of the Seas on July 7.
The 4,180-passenger ship will offer a combination of four-night "Ocean Getaways" from Southampton in early July and five- to eight-night British Isles cruises, starting 15th July, that include ports stops in Liverpool, Kirkwall, Scotland and Belfast.
Crew will be fully vaccinated and sailings will be open to U.K. residents over-18 who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those under the age of 18 with negative test results. Details on the health and safety measures will be announced at a later date and "may evolve as they are evaluated on an ongoing basis," the line stated.
In recognition of the efforts of the emergency services, National Health Service, social care sector and armed forces over the last year, Royal Caribbean will offer 999 free staterooms on its first Ocean Getaways to those UK residents in these professions.
Anthem of the Seas itineraries open for bookings on 7th April and pre-registration for passengers eligible for the 999 free cabins open on 13th April, and final names will be drawn from a ballot by the end of April.
Royal Caribbean joins sister brand Celebrity Cruises in offering cruises this summer, as well as a whole host of other lines, including Viking, Disney Cruise Line and MSC Cruises, which is due to restart sailing on its new ship on May 20.
Royal will also base Jewel of the Seas in Limassol, Cyprus, from July 10, offering week-long cruises calling in at Athens and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Santorini through October.
"The UK is a place we hold near and dear to our heart at Royal Caribbean. We miss our UK guests and are as eager as they are to get back to cruising from Southampton," said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
"We are delighted with the UK government’s recent announcements regarding cruising and excited to set sail again with a phenomenal ship and favorite such as Anthem of the Seas.
"After a tough year, we all need a holiday, but no one more so than the emergency services, NHS, social care sector and armed forces who will have the long-awaited opportunity to get away and relax with total peace of mind"
Anthem was due to sail from the U.K., replacing Independence of the Seas last year, but was unable to due to the pandemic.