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Royal Caribbean received approval from the CDC to begin operating test cruises. Beginning test cruises represents a crucial step towards resuming cruises in the U.S.
Royal Caribbean Test Cruises
Royal said the Freedom of the Seas departs for the first test cruise out of the Port of Miami June 20-22.
After 15 months of hard work and collaboration, today’s approval of our simulated cruises is the latest promising step in our path to return to sailing in the U.S. We look forward to welcoming our crew, loyal guests and supporters from around the world this summer.”Royal Caribbean statement
So far, at least 200,000 people have signed up to be a volunteer on a test cruise.
Royal Caribbean has also been hard at work getting crew members vaccinated by bringing its ships into American ports to get inoculated.
CDC Plan for Resuming Cruises
The CDC seems confident they have a clear path to resuming cruises in the U.S.
Over the past month, senior leadership from CDC have met multiple times a week with cruise line senior executives to discuss the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO). During these meetings, participants asked questions and discussed the fastest path back to sailing without compromising safety. CDC and the cruise industry agree that the industry has what it needs to move forward and no additional roadblocks exist for resuming sailing by mid-summer.Centers for Disease Control statement
The simulated cruises are required for ships that don’t mandate vaccinations of at least 98 percent of its crew and 95 percent of its passengers – the latter of which is difficult to do for companies that attract families since young children aren’t eligible for the vaccines yet.
The CDC has outlined what the simulated cruises should include. Among the requirements is that passengers on test voyages must be 18 years old and present proof of vaccination or documentation that the passenger is not at high risk for severe COVID-19.
All volunteer passengers “must be informed in writing that they are participating in a simulation of health and safety protocols that are unproven and untested in the United States for purposes of simulating a cruise ship voyage and that sailing during a pandemic is an inherently risky activity,” the CDC said.
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Would you volunteer for a test cruise voyage when they become available? Let us know in the comments.