Royal Caribbean becomes first to restart departures from San Juan



Life is slowly returning to normal as the first cruise ships resume operations with San Juan, Puerto Rico, as their home port. Sea explorer will call the island home until April 2022.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship concluded its test navigation last week from the same port and will offer guests the opportunity to explore the eastern and southern Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean brings cruises back to Puerto Rico

Cruises departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, are back on the program as Sea explorer becomes the first cruise ship since the global break in operations to its home port on the island.

The ship completed its test cruise last week, which sailed between October 29 and October 31. The cruise line is conducting these test cruises to demonstrate to the Centers for Disease Control that onboard health protocols are working as intended and ensuring the safety of crew members and passengers. .

Photo credit: Ceri Breeze /

The 137,308 gross tonnes, 3,282 passenger, Voyager-class cruise ship, will perform week-long cruises in the eastern and southern Caribbean during the winter months and through spring.

Also read: Cruises from San Juan: the pros and cons

Sailing every Sunday starting today, November 7, the ship will give guests the chance to explore a variety of Caribbean islands. This November 7, the ship is sailing on an itinerary calling at Saint Thomas, Sainte Croix, Saint-Martin, Saint Lucia, Barbados and Saint-Kitts. Other opportunities include a very Dutch cruise, calling at Saint-Martin, Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire, all in the Netherlands Antilles.

A welcome return to Puerto Rico

The executive director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority believes that the return of cruise ships to San Juan, and in particular to the home port, is a welcome break for the island.

Director of the Port Authority Joel Pizá Batiz: “The visit of each cruise ship, beyond the significant development of tourism and the local economy, represents a vote of confidence in our facilities and operations. This demonstrates that the efforts of the government of Puerto Rico, the Port Authority and other related agencies are effective. “

Explorer of the Seas cruise ship
Photo credit: Rob Crandall /

Calls from Sea explorer as well as other cruise ships, such as Crystal Agreement and Celebrity summit, will have a significant economic impact, according to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), Carlos Mercado Santiago:

“Puerto Rico offers a diversity of experiences and great potential for growth, two of the many reasons we continue to be an attractive destination for cruise passengers in a region as competitive as the Caribbean region. The visits that these three ships will make between the months of November 2021 to April 2022 will have an economic impact initially estimated at around 16 million dollars.

Back to normal?

The return of ships to Puerto Rico as home port marks a return to normal for the islands, although significant health and safety restrictions remain in place. According to the Royal Caribbean website, customers must count on substantial testing and vaccination requirements.

San Juan Cruise Terminal
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

If you are arriving from the United States, vaccinated guests do not have any testing requirements to enter Puerto Rico. Unvaccinated children between the ages of 2 and 11 must have a negative PCR or antigen test result within 72 hours of arrival at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.

Read: Which Royal Caribbean cruise ships have resumed operations?

All persons aged two years and over, coming from an international country, regardless of their vaccination status, must show a negative result in a PCR or antigen test carried out within 72 hours before their arrival at Luis Muñoz International Airport. Marin de San Juan.

This requirement is in addition to the already strict vaccine mandates and testing procedures that the cruise line usually maintains. Nonetheless, it probably won’t be a deterrent for those wishing to take a Caribbean cruise, something that is finally close to home for many Puertorriqueños.

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas


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