For the first time in nearly a year-and-a-half, Royal Caribbean is sailing in Alaska. Serenade of the Seas made itself the first large cruise ship to return to Alaskan sailing, departing for its first test cruise in the region on July 7.
Serenade of the Seas made its long awaited arrival after the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act bill was passed and signed which allowed cruise ships to return to its shores.
The vessel had a warm welcome when arriving in Ketchikan, delighting those in the area who rely on tourism for their livelihood. Serenade of the Seas was greeted with a welcoming ceremony where Senator Lisa Murkowski was presented with an award for her role in pushing through the Tourism Restoration Act.
She said: “I am pleased to welcome the first large cruise ship of the 2021 season. Tourism is the lifeblood for hundreds of Alaska small businesses and thousands of employees. I’ve been committed to help bring tourism back for the 2021 season and keep Alaskans afloat through the hardships created by the pandemic.”
“It was an all-hands-on-deck effort to find a solution to the 2021 cruise ship season and bring a much-needed economic boost to our communities. I want to thank the other members of the delegation for working with me to get my legislation, the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, across the finish line.”
“This legislation made it possible to begin to bring cruise ships back to Alaska – so that our communities can have a productive tourist season. Today marks an important step toward Alaska’s road to economic recovery from the pandemic.”
Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said: “Today! Serenade of the Seas arrived into Ketchikan, Alaska. The first cruise ship to sail into Alaska for 16 months! Serenade is on its simulation cruise. Senator Murkowski of Alaska and many other dignitaries where there to greet Royal Caribbean. So many worked to make this happen! Thank you! Onwards and upwards team!”
Assuming there are no significant hitches on the test cruise, Royal Caribbean will be free to begin sailing in the region with paying passengers. If this is the case, Serenade of the Seas will be sailing to Alaska from Seattle on July 19 and Ovation of the Seas will also begin Alaskan cruising on August 13.