May 25. Royal Caribbean International is the first cruise line to receive approval from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to operate test cruises as a key step toward resuming operations from U.S. ports.
The company said the first test cruise approved is for Freedom of the Seas 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.,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming our crew, loyal guests and supporters from around the world this summer.”
The test cruises will be operated out of PortMiami. “Tens of thousands of people have volunteered for test cruises” Royal Caribbean has said.
The CDC said the path to resuming cruises in the U.S. is now clear.
“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),” a CDC statement said. “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.”
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.
Source: Travel Pulse