Looking Back at the Royal Caribbean Group Restart

As the Royal Caribbean Group completes its restart plans, Cruise Industry News recaps the trajectory of the cruise brands in bringing all their ships back after the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean International
Original Service Resumption: Quantum of the Seas in December 2020
Restart Completion Plan: Rhapsody of the Seas in May 2022
Ships Now in Service: Full Fleet – 26 ships 

In December 2020, Royal Caribbean International became one of the first major cruise lines to resume service after the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven months after pausing its entire worldwide operations, the company welcomed guests back in Singapore, with a series of cruises to nowhere onboard the Quantum of the Seas.

Half a year later, in June 2021, Royal Caribbean returned to North America and the Caribbean, with a special program in the Bahamas. Based in Nassau, the Adventure of the Seas became one of the first ships to resume service in the region, offering seven-night cruises to Freeport, CocoCay and Cozumel.

After returning to the United States in July 2021, the company continued restarting operations in additional destinations, such as the Alaska, the Mediterranean and the UK.

In May 2022, the brand’s restart plan was finally concluded with the service restart of the Rhapsody of the Seas. Marking the return of the company’s full fleet, the ship kicked off a summer program in the Mediterranean.

Celebrity Cruises
Original Service Resumption: Celebrity Millennium in June 2021
Restart Completion Plan: Celebrity Infinity in June 2022
Ships Now in Service: Full Fleet – 15 ships

Celebrity Cruises completed its restart plans in just one year. As the first ship to resume guest services in North America, the Celebrity Millennium was the first ship to welcome guests back for the premium brand, launching a St. Maarten-based Caribbean program in June 2021.

A few weeks later, the company later marked the return of the large cruise ships to the United States, with the Celebrity Edge becoming the first mainstream ship to sail from a stateside port since March 2020. Also in June, Celebrity resumed operations in the Mediterranean with the new Celebrity Apex.

Quickly adding ships back into service, Celebrity returned to the UK, the Alaska and the Galapagos in July 2021.

Completing the company’s restart plans – and also marking the return of the entire Royal Caribbean Group – the Celebrity Infinity welcomed guests back in June 2022.

Silversea Cruises
Original Service Resumption: Silver Moon in June 2021
Restart Completion Plan: Silver Shadow in June 2022
Ships Now in Service: Full Fleet – 10 ships

Silversea Cruises resumed guest services in June 2021. Almost at the same time, the luxury company welcomed guests back in two new ships – the Silver Moon in the Mediterranean and the Silver Origin in the Galapagos.

A month later, the brand added more two ships into the active lineup, resuming service in Iceland and Alaska as well.

After retuning to additional destinations, including the Antarctica in November 2021 and the Kimberley region in June 2022, the company completed its restart plans in June 2022.

Marking the return of Silversea’s entire ten-ship fleet, the Silver Shadow kicked off a summer program in the Alaska.

TUI Cruises
Original Service Resumption: Mein Schiff 2 in July 2020
Restart Completion Plan: Mein Schiff Herz in April 2022
Ships Now in Service: Full Fleet – Seven ships

TUI Cruises pioneered the cruise restart in July 2020, becoming the first cruise line to have a large ship back in guest operations. At the time, the German brand launched its “Blue Cruises,” a series of ocean getaways onboard the Mein Schiff 2.

Departing from Hamburg, the sailings included several new health protocols, in addition to scenic cruising in Norway and other countries of the region. The Mein Schiff 1 followed in August 2020, offering a similar product. 

Still in 2020, TUI also returned to the Mediterranean, with the Mein Schiff 6 offering a program in Greece, and to the Canaries, with the Mein Schiff 2 kicking off a series of itineraries from St. Cruz de Tenerife in November.

After adding more destinations and ships back into the active lineup, the brand concluded its restart plans in April 2022. At the time, the Mein Schiff Herz resumed service in the Mediterranean, marking the return of TUI’s entire fleet.

Original Service Resumption: Hanseatic Inspiration in June 2021

Restart Completion Plan: Hanseatic Spirit in August 2021
Ships Now in Service: Full Fleet – Five ships

Hapag-Lloyd first resumed guest services in July 2020, with an expedition ship, the Hanseatic Inspiration, and a luxury vessel, the Europa 2.

Sailing from Hamburg, the ships initially offered short cruises to nowhere. Later that year, the German brand later returned to the Canary Islands before relaunching service in the Mediterranean in 2021.

As the new Hanseatic Spirit entered service in August 2021, the company finally finished its restart plans.

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