Royal Caribbean has claimed a cruise industry first with the resumption of cruising to Alaska this week.
On Monday (19 July), Serenade of the Seas embarked on the first in a series of seven-day Alaska sailings from Seattle.
It marks the opening of Royal’s first Alaska season since 2019.
Serenade will visit Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point, as well as Endicott Arm fjord and Dawes Glacier.
Some 97% of those onboard Serenade are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Children aged 16 and below, who are ineligible for jabs, must test negative prior to departure. This age limit will be lowered to 12 from 1 August.
Royal said the sailing was cause for celebration for both the cruise industry, and the local workforce, suppliers and communities in Alaska that have been "significantly impacted" by cruise’s 2020 absence owing to Covid-19.
The line said the industry provided more than 60% of the state’s visitors, generating in excess of ¢3 billion for the Alaskan economy each year.
Serenade will be joined in Alaska by Ovation of the Seas, which will begin sailing to the so-called Last Frontier on 13 August.
"Cruising in Alaska is finally back, and we are excited to be the first to return," said Royal Caribbean president and chief executive Michael Bayley.
"Alaska is one of the most popular destinations among our guests, especially families with young kids – children who are ineligible for the vaccine today.
“We are grateful for the support of our partners, senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and other government and health authorities.
"This is a return that is significantly felt by many, including those whose communities rely on cruise tourism.”