• Cheers to 25 years: Celebrate with Us!
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More
You may also like
Dismiss
Royal Caribbean Outlines Protocols for Cruises from Florida aboard Freedom of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Sets Sail from U.S. Homeport for First Time Since Pandemic
Freedom of the Seas departs Miami on July 2, 2021

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Sets Sail from U.S. Homeport for First Time Since Pandemic

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Sets Sail from U.S. Homeport for First Time Since Pandemic
Freedom of the Seas departs Miami on July 2, 2021

July 02, 2021

Colleen McDaniel
Editor-In-Chief
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

(7:15 p.m. EDT) -- For the first time since March 2020, a Royal Caribbean ship set sail from a U.S. homeport, as Freedom of the Seas left Miami for a three-night cruise to the Bahamas.

A blast from the ship's horn signaled the ship's departure from its homeport, while passengers and crew celebrated the sailaway with a pool deck party as the sun went down.

For an industry that has been almost entirely shut down since the pandemic began, this sailing is a sign of things to come, providing some optimism for people who have been anxious to get back onboard cruise ships and see the world.

Cruise Critic is onboard for the milestone cruise, which is sailing with a mix of both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers. More than 1,000 passengers are onboard the ship, which can carry up to 4,500. Freedom of the Seas will visit Nassau and Royal Caribbean's own private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Revitalized Pool Deck aboard Freedom of the Seas

In order to accommodate passengers both vaccinated and not, the ship has put in place a number of regulations and created spaces exclusively open to vaccinated passengers. Royal Caribbean sent out a list of those regulations and requirements to passengers ahead of the sailing. Passengers who were unvaccinated or elected not to voluntarily show proof of vaccination had additional responsibilities, like additional testing and mandatory insurance requirements -- all things that can greatly increase costs for those who wish to cruise unvaccinated.

Featured Videos

Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog

Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog

Freedom Of The Seas Resumes Sailing With New Rules

Freedom Of The Seas Resumes Sailing With New Rules

Oasis Of The Seas Ship Tour - Ship Exterior

Oasis Of The Seas Ship Tour - Ship Exterior

Here's What We Packed For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise (June 2021)

Here's What We Packed For Our Royal Caribbean Cruise (June 2021)

Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises! (VIDEO)

Celebrity to Restart from U.S. Homeport, PLUS Royal Caribbean Given Green Light for Test Cruises! (VIDEO)

Odyssey of the Seas -- From Steel Cutting to Delivery 2021

Odyssey of the Seas -- From Steel Cutting to Delivery 2021

Video Of Odyssey Of The Seas Conveyance March 2021

Video Of Odyssey Of The Seas Conveyance March 2021

Video: Royal Caribbean Group Announces E-muster, Keyless Cabin Check-in And Other App Improvements

Video: Royal Caribbean Group Announces E-muster, Keyless Cabin Check-in And Other App Improvements

Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Shipyard Tour: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony Of The Seas Gets Its Finishing Touches -- Video

Shipyard Tour: Royal Caribbean’s Symphony Of The Seas Gets Its Finishing Touches -- Video

Harmony Of The Seas Video Tour – Inside Look At One Of Royal Caribbean’s Most Popular Cruise Ships

Harmony Of The Seas Video Tour – Inside Look At One Of Royal Caribbean’s Most Popular Cruise Ships

Symphony Of The Seas Video Tour

Symphony Of The Seas Video Tour

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum Of The Seas Celebrates Keel Laying

Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum Of The Seas Celebrates Keel Laying

Sea Beyond: An Innovative Cruise Experience By Royal Caribbean

Sea Beyond: An Innovative Cruise Experience By Royal Caribbean

Sneak Peak At Symphony Of The Seas

Sneak Peak At Symphony Of The Seas

What’s Your Size? Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class Vs. Majesty Of The Seas - Video

What’s Your Size? Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class Vs. Majesty Of The Seas - Video

Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas Highlights

Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas Highlights

Spectrum Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Spectrum Of The Seas Steel Cutting At Meyer Werft

Royal Caribbean's Enchantment Of The Seas Highlights

Royal Caribbean's Enchantment Of The Seas Highlights

Harvest Caye Cruise Port Video Tour

Harvest Caye Cruise Port Video Tour

Photo Tour of Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas

Photo Tour of Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas

What It Means To Be Loyal To Royal

What It Means To Be Loyal To Royal

7 Can’t-Miss Experiences on Allure Of The Seas

7 Can’t-Miss Experiences on Allure Of The Seas

Video Tour of Allure Of The Seas' Bars

Video Tour of Allure Of The Seas' Bars

Cruise Pier Runners In Cozumel -- Carnival Liberty

Cruise Pier Runners In Cozumel -- Carnival Liberty

Harmony Of The Seas Youth Place

Harmony Of The Seas Youth Place

Harmony Of The Seas Pool And Sports Zone

Harmony Of The Seas Pool And Sports Zone

Harmony Of The Seas Central Park On Royal Caribbean International

Harmony Of The Seas Central Park On Royal Caribbean International

Harmony Of The Seas Boardwalk

Harmony Of The Seas Boardwalk

Harmony Of The Seas Entertainment Place

Harmony Of The Seas Entertainment Place

Harmony Of The Seas Royal Promenade

Harmony Of The Seas Royal Promenade

Harmony Of The Seas Vitality Spa And Fitness Center

Harmony Of The Seas Vitality Spa And Fitness Center

Perfect Storm Water Slides On Harmony Of The Seas

Perfect Storm Water Slides On Harmony Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas

Harmony Of The Seas Cabins - Video Tour - Cruise Critic

Harmony Of The Seas Cabins - Video Tour - Cruise Critic

Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Harmony Of The Seas

Greased Lightnin': Royal Caribbean Brings Another Broadway Hit

Greased Lightnin': Royal Caribbean Brings Another Broadway Hit

Plunging Into Adventure On The Tallest Slide At Sea: Royal Caribbean Reveals 10-Story Ultimate Abyss

Plunging Into Adventure On The Tallest Slide At Sea: Royal Caribbean Reveals 10-Story Ultimate Abyss

Cruise Critic Flowrider On Royal Caribbean's Freedom Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Flowrider On Royal Caribbean's Freedom Of The Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Anthem of the Seas

Cruise Critic Tours Anthem of the Seas

Anthem Of The Seas Welcomes Gigi The Giraffe

Anthem Of The Seas Welcomes Gigi The Giraffe

Oasis Of The Seas Flowrider - Cruise Critic Goes Surfing

Oasis Of The Seas Flowrider - Cruise Critic Goes Surfing

Oasis Of The Seas Jazz On 4 Performance

Oasis Of The Seas Jazz On 4 Performance

Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade Parade (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Royal Promenade Parade (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Carousel In Action (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Carousel In Action (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Ship Tour -- Main Dining Room (2009)

Oasis Of The Seas Ship Tour -- Main Dining Room (2009)

Protocols and procedures aren't the only things that have changed in the intervening 15 months.

Freedom of the Seas underwent a $116-million refurbishment early last year, getting new spaces popular on other ship's in the cruise line's fleet just before the global health pandemic shuttered travel around the world.

Playmaker's Sports Bar on Freedom of the Seas

Cruisers embarking Freedom of the Seas will find sports bar Playmakers has been added, complete with dozens of flatscreen TVs and a menu of bar food like sliders, wings and jalapeno poppers. The ship also recieved other dining venues, including El Loco Fresh, Izumi Hibachi and Sushi and Giovanni's Italian Kitchen.

The biggest upgrades were saved for the pool deck, which has seen the addition of colorful cabanas, a giant kids waterplay space called Splashaway Bay and a rejuvenated Solarium.

Stay tuned for more coverage of this sailing to the Bahamas.

How was this article?

Featured News

1
Carnival Cruise News: Hot New Ship Mardi Gras Sets Sail, First Cruise To Resume From Port Canaveral
5
Royal Caribbean Cruise News: Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test Now Required For All Passengers At Embarkation
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.