The good news keeps coming! Over the past several days, cruise lines have been announcing return to service plans including approval for test cruises. In this post, we will continue to update all the CDC approvals for test cruises and passenger voyages.
As you are probably aware, one of the requirements of the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order is the completion of a simulated voyage. During this process, a cruise line must meet a number of requirements.
First, the cruise line must establish port agreements. Then, the cruise line must conduct a test cruise demonstrating its established health and safety protocols. The cruise lines must simulate embarkation and disembarkation, onboard activities including dining and entertainment, medical evacuation, quarantine protocols, and more.
Once this process occurs, the cruise line must obtain a conditional sailing certificate to resume restricted passenger voyages.
Of course, the CDC has provided some recent updates that would allow the cruise lines to bypass the test cruise requirement. A cruise ship can skip these simulated voyages if it can attest that 98% of crew and 95% of cruise passengers are fully vaccinated.
This is the route most cruise lines are taking to expedite the process for Alaska cruises this summer. However, many mainstream cruise lines cater to families, so they would not be able to meet this requirement for Caribbean and Bahamas sailings.
Thus, cruise lines have been submitting plans for test cruises to the CDC.
Cruise Ships Approved By CDC for Test Cruises
We learned the first ship that was approved for a test cruise was Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. Royal Caribbean announced last week that Freedom the Seas will be conducting a test cruise from Miami on June 20th.
Just yesterday, Royal Caribbean’s CEO and President, Michael Bayley, revealed via social media that Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas have also been approved for test cruises. Allure of the Seas will sail July 27-29th from Port Canaveral, FL. Symphony of the Seas will conduct its test cruise August 1st-3rd from Miami, FL.
First reported by Travel Weekly, Mariner of the Seas and Independence of the Seas have also been approved. Mariner of the Seas will sail from Port Canaveral, while Independence of the Seas will sail from Galveston, Texas.
Royal Caribbean subsequently announced the dates for these simulated voyages. Independence of the Seas will set sail on August 1st and Mariner of the Seas on August 11th.
However, Royal Caribbean did release a huge cruise update today. This update included several cruise ship restart plans. Freedom of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas sail dates were announced.
Also, Mariner of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, and Odyssey of the Seas sail dates from the U.S. were revealed.
Carnival Cruise Line
While Carnival Cruise Line has recently indicated that it had approved port agreements for Miami, Galveston, and Port Canaveral, the cruise line has not announced any test cruises to date.
Carnival has indicated all along that Carnival Horizon in Miami as well as Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze in Galveston would be the first to set sail.
According to this same Travel Weekly report, it appears that Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon have been approved by the CDC for test cruises. Again, the cruise line has not made any official announcements or provided any dates just yet.
Although, it now appears that Carnival is temporarily bypassing test cruises by requiring vaccinations. Carnival announced its restart plan from Galveston beginning in July which includes a vaccine requirement.
Disney Cruise Line
Recently, we learned that Disney Dream will be conducting a test cruise on June 29th from Port Canaveral, FL. This two-night simulated voyage will consist of volunteer passengers to test the brand’s newly developed health and safety protocols.
This puts the cruise line one step closer to resuming passenger voyages in the United States. Disney Magic is also scheduled to sail this summer exclusively for UK residents.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Further, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line revealed its test cruise approval for Grand Classica. This ship will embark on a two-night roundtrip cruise from the Port of Palm Beach on June 25th.
The brand’s one remaining ship, Grand Classica, will complete this simulated voyage with fully-vaccinated passengers and crew. The cruise will include a “small, private group” of passengers.
During the voyage, the cruise line will be able to test out its new health and safety protocols. Also, the cruise line will evaluate its shore excursion procedures during the test cruise with a stop at Grand Bahamas Island.
MSC Cruises is the latest cruise line to announce CDC approval of its port agreements and a test cruise on July 17th. Meriviglia will conducts its simulation voyage from PortMiami.
MSC Cruises revealed this information along with its summer U.S. restart plans. The brand’s MSC Meriviglia will begin 3 and 4-night cruises from Miami on August 2nd to The Bahamas and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. MSC Divina will also begin 3, 4, and 7-night cruises from Port Canaveral on September 16th.
Cruise Ships Approved By CDC for Passenger Voyages
We learned a few weeks ago that Celebrity Edge would be the first ocean-going ship sailing from the United States. This ship will depart June 26th from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a 7-night Caribbean cruise. Of course, we will be on board!
That’s right, “someday is here” for Celebrity Cruises, as Celebrity Edge was the first ship to gain CDC approval for restricted passenger voyages. The ever-popular Captain Kate McCue will be at the helm for this milestone voyage.
Given its traditional passenger make-up, Celebrity Cruises has opted to bypass test cruises. Thus, the brand is certifying that it will meet the vaccination requirement for guests.
These sailings will include 100% vaccinated crew. Celebrity Cruises will also require all adults over 16 years of age to show proof of vaccination. Starting on August 1st, the cruise line is requiring proof of vaccination for everyone 12 years or older.
In addition to Celebrity Edge, it has also been reported that Celebrity Equinox has received approval for restricted passenger voyages from Port Everglades. Though, no further details are known at this time.
What do you think of all the recent CDC approvals for test cruises and passenger voyages? Will you be cruising on one of these ships this summer? Drop us an anchor below to share what ships you think will be announced next.