We now know the date for the first simulated voyage in the United States!
Royal Caribbean Receives CDC Approval for Test Cruise
For now, it appears Royal Caribbean International will be the first cruise line to test its new health and safety protocols on Freedom of the Seas.
The good news was shared by the company’s CEO Michael Bayley with a Facebook post. In the post, Mr. Bayley shared the acceptance letter “congratulating” him on the provisional acceptance to conduct this simulated voyage.
The letter provides authorization for the cruise line to sail Freedom of the Seas from June 20th to June 22nd, granted, it meets specific criteria. There are 5 criteria that the cruise line must meet in order to sail.
Royal Caribbean Test Cruise Criteria
First, the cruise line must inform the CDC of the maximum number of passengers that will be on the cruise. The CDC requires that at least 10% of the maximum number of passengers be part of the simulated voyage.
Second, the CDC is requiring the cruise line to advise guests ahead of time about the risk of cruising. The cruise line must advise volunteers partaking in these simulated voyages of the CDC’s Travel Health Notice for COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel through email, a link to CDC’s website, or a written letter.
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Third, in order to sail, Freedom of the Seas must be at an Orange or Green on the CDC’s color-coding status. Thankfully, the ship is currently at an Orange status, so it meets this requirement.
Fourth, the cruise line needs to follow the CDC’s rules for testing and quarantine of crew and passengers on this voyage.
Lastly, the CDC indicates that detailed record keeping must be employed during the sailing. Royal Caribbean must document all “deficiencies” in the new protocols. In addition, the cruise line needs to provide feedback on how they will rectify these issues on future sailings. The cruise line must provide this documentation to apply for a Conditional Sailing certificate.
The CDC defines a deficiency as “any significant departure from your company’s health and safety protocols or, if such health and safety protocols are followed, any documented transmission of COVID-19 that requires a change, modification, or adjustment in your protocols to ensure safer and healthier sailing.”
Will You Sail on a Royal Caribbean Test Cruise?
Freedom of the Seas will be sailing this test cruise from the Port of Miami. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed this departure point for the Royal Caribbean Test cruise yesterday afternoon in a press release.
The mayor stated “We are thrilled by the news that Royal Caribbean will be able to conduct test voyages from PortMiami starting next month. This approval is a milestone for our hard-fought efforts to safely re-open the cruising industry, which is a cornerstone of Miami-Dade’s economy – generating $7 billion a year and supporting an estimated 40,000 jobs throughout multiple sectors of the economy.”
This announcement is quite surprising. It does make sense to restart with Freedom of the Seas. The ship offers plenty of space and is a popular vessel.
Further, Freedom of the Seas underwent a $100 million dollar renovation. Sadly, the ship only had one sailing prior to the cruise suspension. Luckily, we were onboard the ship’s only Southern Caribbean sailing since emerging from this amplification.
So, the next question is who will be sailing on this simulated voyage? Will Royal Caribbean use only employees? Or, will the cruise line accept regular cruisers or travel partners?
There are over 64K members of the Volunteers of the Seas Facebook group. Royal Caribbean has indicated that over 250K individuals have signed up to be volunteers on simulated voyages. This community is filled with avid cruisers looking to be part of these simulated voyages.
We are eagerly waiting to hear more about these Royal Caribbean test cruises. Stay tuned to the blog and social media for the latest updates!
Do you want to sail on a Royal Caribbean test cruise? Would you volunteer for the Freedom of the Seas simulated voyage? Drop us an anchor below to share your thoughts on this latest cruise announcement.