Royal Caribbean is the latest line to resume operations with cruises around the Greek islands and UK coast
Royal Caribbean returned to Europe earlier this month, when Jewel of the Seas embarked on a two-night preview sailing from Limassol on July 6, ahead of its inaugural cruise on July 10, to ports including Athens, Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos and Santorini, Greece.
The cruise marked the beginning of a short summer series of seven-night itineraries to the Greek Islands for Royal Caribbean, and was also the first time the line has based a ship in Cyprus.
It’s been more than a year since Royal Caribbean have operated in Europe due to the pandemic, with Jewel being joined by Anthem of the Seas which is now sailing from Southampton on UK coastal cruises. Further ships will be added throughout August, including Harmony of the Seas, which departs from Barcelona on August 15.
All crew and passengers on Jewel aged over 18 will be fully vaccinated. Families are still welcome aboard the sailing, with non-vaccinated passengers between 12 and 18 completing a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival in Cyprus. All passengers above the age of two will also have to take a compulsory complimentary test on the day of embarking. The measures are specific to the sailing from Cyprus in compliance with the Cypriot government and will be continuously evaluated.
The return to sailing in the UK and Europe follows a recent change in policy, stating that cruise liners can carry more people if all guests have been fully vaccinated and there was at least 14 days between their second dose and departure. The policy allows ships to sail at 50 per cent capacity, regardless of the total number of guests, if all on board have been double-vaccinated.
Ben Bouldin, EMEA vice president for Royal Caribbean, said: “Jewel of the Seas’ first sailing out of Cyprus marks the beginning of an exciting return to cruising in Europe for Royal Caribbean.
“Cyprus is a beautiful country with a multitude of must-visit regions, and it is an extremely popular destination among our European guests – we know they are ready and waiting to enjoy a Cyprus and Greek Isles getaway this summer.”
The river cruise line announces a new partnership with South American operator Metropolitan Touring
AmaWaterways will sail the Magdalena river in Colombia after announcing a partnership with Metropolitan Touring, a South American tour operator.
From December 2023, guests will be able to explore the river on a custom-built, all-suite, eco-friendly river cruise ship, the line said.
“Not since my early university days of exploring the Amazon river have I felt the excitement of discovering a new destination that is so rich in biodiversity and culture as I found on the Magdalena river,” said Rudi Schreiner, president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. “I’m absolutely captivated by the rich history, wildlife and friendly welcome that awaits our guests when our intimate, all-suite ship sets sail in December 2023.”
“Colombia has always been a country close to my heart and every trip I’ve made to the Magdalena over many years has been full of amazing, life-affirming experiences that touched my soul. Finding the right partner to develop the first-ever eco-friendly river cruise experience for Colombia was therefore of utmost importance to me and our company,” said Paulina Burbano de Lara, chief executive officer of Metropolitan Touring. “We know that Rudi, Kristin [Karst] and all the AmaWaterways team share our passion for the river Magdalena and we’re delighted that together we will create innovative and enriching experiences for guests.”
Guests will be able to choose between two seven-night itineraries with pre- and post-cruise land programmes exploring the Magdalena river and wider Colombia.
“Drawing on each company’s expertise, AmaWaterways and Metropolitan Touring have together created a unique river cruise and land programme that will immerse travellers in the beauty of the ‘River of a Thousand Rhythms’,” said Camilo Calderon, general manager of Metropolitan Touring Colombia. “Our guests will enjoy the modern comforts of an upscale river cruise ship, with exclusive experiences and unparalleled service, hallmarks of both companies, to the very heart of Colombia’s soul.”
“It is incredibly exciting to be able to launch a new river cruise destination like Colombia, with such a colourful history and artistic background,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways. “We are celebrating 19 years of creating authentic river cruise experiences in Europe, Asia and Africa and now, with our world-recognised destination partner, Metropolitan Touring, we will be able to offer our guests an opportunity to explore a fourth continent while discovering the hidden gems of Colombia along the majestic Magdalena river.”
Specific itineraries are currently being developed with more details due in the coming weeks.