Having fast and reliable Wi-Fi has become a necessity during the COVID-19 remote work period. To meet this essential function, the cruise line’s “connectivity partner” SES will be launching a new satellite constellation later this year. As a result, when cruising returns, Princess will be able to offer “land-like” internet on all of its ships, turning a boat into an “office at sea,” according to a press release.
This strong Wi-Fi connection will be accessible throughout the ships, which means guests won’t have to stay in their staterooms just to get speedy internet for work or school.
“I challenge you to tell me of another venue anywhere that has this kind of ironclad health and safety protocols in place,” Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line parent CEO, told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Mad Money” on Monday. “Cruise ships will de facto become the safest place on earth.”
Royal Caribbean just welcomed the Odyssey of the Seas, a new cruise ship that will begin “fully vaccinated” cruises from Israel this summer.
This announcement comes after a year of bad news for cruise lines, including COVID-19 outbreaks at the beginning of the pandemic, an industry-wide pause throughout 2020 …
… tumultuous responses to “fully vaccinated” sailings, and the CDC’s rejection of an earlier cruising return.
The ship’s inaugural sailing was once set for May to October from Italy, but both the dates and location were changed to June to October from Israel.
And unlike the previously canceled cruises aboard this new ship, these new Israel sailings will only be available to Israeli residents who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Guests under 18-years-old who don’t have the vaccine will instead have to test negative for the virus.
This cruise series will then bring its Israeli guests on three to seven-night trips around the Mediterranean.
Wondering what you’ll do for seven nights aboard a ship?
The 1,138-foot long, 135-foot wide cruise will offer several amenities that will keep its guests and their children busy.
This includes a “Caribbean-inspired” pool deck with two pools and four whirlpools.
But if you or your children are looking for more active fun, head to the Splashaway Bay water park or the “SeaPlex” activity center.
The latter will be the “largest indoor active space at sea,” according to Royal Caribbean, and will include unique activities like bumper cars, virtual reality games, and laser tag.
If you need a break from the kids, head to the Solarium. Here, guests over 16-years-old can hang out at the pools, relaxation areas, and a bar. The image below shows the Solarium on a different Royal Caribbean ship.
While the parents are relaxing, their children can partake in the Adventure Ocean program full of different games and activities.
Meanwhile, the teenagers can instead head to the Social180 to game, lounge, and mingle.
But if the whole family is looking for some more adventurous activities, head up to the top deck for the ship’s observation area …
… virtual reality-powered SkyPad bungee trampoline, and both a skydiving and surfing simulator.
When it’s mealtime, guests can dine at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar or Teppanyaki, both Royal Caribbean firsts for North America.
More interested in indoor entertainment? Go down to the Two70, which will showcase different performers and rotating TV screens to turn a lounge into an immersive theater.
If you aren’t based in Israel but trips aboard the Odyssey of the Seas sound enticing, wait until November when the ship will head to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and state Attorney General Ashley Moody said they would consider filing a lawsuit against the federal government over its ongoing restriction on the cruise industry.
During a roundtable discussion with cruise industry executives on Friday, Moody said the state was weighing its legal options against the Biden Administration and the US Centers for Disease Control for keeping the cruise industry idled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In October, the CDC announced a new framework for sailing that requires cruises to have onboard testing and carry out mock voyages and many other requirements before they are allowed to restart in US ports. The industry was shut down a year ago after several coronavirus outbreaks erupted on cruise ships.
“You can’t have an agency shutting down an entire industry based on outdated arbitrary capricious decisions and so we will take all legal action as necessary,” Moody said.
The roundtable discussion included CEOs from Norwegian, Carnival, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Disney Cruise Line, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“If you’re not going to be willing to greenlight this, then you need to explain why everywhere else in the world can do it,” DeSantis said during the discussion. “Is it okay for the government to just idle an industry for a year, with no end in sight? I mean, this was never legislated by anybody.”
A statement by the Florida governor’s office on Friday said the US government failed to provide relief funding to seaports “while airports and transit agencies have received assistance through relief packages.”
Florida is home to some of the world’s busiest ports including Miami, Port Canaveral near Kennedy Space Center, and Port Everglades near Fort Lauderdale.
Through August 2020, Florida lost around $2.3 billion in wages and 49,500 jobs because of the cruise industry shut down due to the pandemic, according to a September 2020 report by the Federal Maritime Commission.
“We’re the most crippled by what they’re doing with this national cruise lockdown, and so we get liberated from that, you’re going to be able to see maybe tens of thousands, maybe even 100,000 more people going back to work,” DeSantis said.
The CDC did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
According to the Associated Press, some experts say it’s still too early for cruise ships to operate again because of the close quarters on the vessels and other potential issues.
The cargo and cruise operations at Florida’s Jacksonville seaport generate around 139,300 jobs in Florida and more than $31.1 billion in annual economic impact, said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green in a statement this month.
The ownership change also results in a $170 million non-cash impairment charge. According to Royal Caribbean, this Azamara sale won’t “materially impact” the cruise company’s financial outcomes.
Unsurprisingly, recent months haven’t exactly been smooth sailing for Royal Caribbean. In December, Royal Caribbean announced it had sold its Empress and Majesty of the Seas cruise ships. Just several months prior, the cruise company reported it had lost $1.3 billion in its third quarter, the Miami Herald reported.