Agents join Anthem of the Seas for shakedown cruise

A number of hundred people, including agents and travel agents, set sail for a two-night shakedown cruise aboard Royal Caribbean Internationals Anthem of the Seas. This was ahead of the ship's official resumption of operation on Wednesday. Anthem of the Seas is the first cruise line to sail again with passengers in Europe after global operations were halted last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Ben Bouldin (UK, Europe & Middle East vice president) said that the beauty of a shakedown cruise or simulation sailing is that we can invite many loyal guests as well as all our great trade partners. They've had a terrible time in the last 12-15 months. He stated that UK seacations are a great way to sell 2021 products and that the cruise line offers a learning program for agents who want to refresh their knowledge. Covid restrictions have resulted in some of the sailings being sold out. The initial sailings will only be available for 1,000 people. The ship's normal capacity is nearly 4,200, but the government has removed restrictions that could lead to a rise to around 2,000. Bouldin said that there has been tremendous support throughout the summer from both Public Health England and Department of Transport. Continue reading: Royal Caribbeans Anthem of the Seas returns back to Southampton He admitted that the past 15 months had been difficult for him as the cruise industry didn't know when or how to restart. He said that there has been a lot of work behind-the scenes to ensure we have the proper protocols in place for our crew and guests. Royal Caribbeans UK team worked with the new protocols to create a family-friendly program of sailings to ports that can host a ship as large as Anthem of the seas when the government approved domestic cruises. He said that we have attracted a similar dynamic to the one we usually have. Although there is an initial segment of the market that will not be able to cruise with us, the country is working on the second vaccinations. By the end of summer, we'll be able take more people on great holidays. We have arranged shore excursions to Liverpool, Belfast, and we hope to visit Kirkwall in Shetland this summer. However, [Scottish first Minister] Nicola Sturgeon is still waiting for permission to sail to Scotland. He said that passengers won't notice much difference when they board the plane. Masks will be worn by people when they move around, not in a state room or while eating. Social distancing is easier with a reduced capacity. You can do everything on a cruise. The only thing we aren't doing is circus school. This requires close contact. This ship is perfect for a cruise around the UK. It was designed for the UK audience. Agents can book domestic cruises with great hardware, he said. This is in advance of international sailings being resumed later in the year. From July 7, the Royal Caribbean International ship will be operating a combination of four- to eight-night sailings. Anthem features include the North Star, the world's tallest observation capsule at sea; RipCord from iFly, a skydiving experience at sea; as well as the surf simulator FlowRider. Continue reading: Royal Caribbeans Anthem of the Seas returns back to Southampton