The US Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) has accepted the request from Royal Caribbean to operated simulated voyages with Freedom of the Seas in June 2021.
This marks a major step forward for resuming cruise operations. It will be the first of many requests not just from Royal Caribbean but from other cruise lines too.
Freedom of the Seas to Sail Simulated Voyage
Royal Caribbean International’s CEO, Michael Bayley, announced that the CDC accepted the cruise line’s request to operate a simulated voyage. A letter response has been sent to Bayley, which details what Royal Caribbean will have to do before the simulation can begin.
Freedom of the Seas will be the ship to sail the first of its kind voyage departing on June 20 2021 and ending on June 22. The CDC accepted that Royal Caribbean has port agreements in place as part of Phase 2 A of the Conditional Sailing Order.
Bayley said on social media:
“After 15 months and so much work by so many during very challenging times. To all our colleagues, loyal guests and supporters all over the world I am proud and pleased to share some bright and wonderful news ! Boom ! Onwards and upwards team !”
Royal Caribbean will need to follow up with further details on the test cruises and inform the CDC of the maximum number of passengers permitted onboard Freedom of the Seas. At least 10% of the maximum guest capacity is permitted onboard for the first two test sailings.
Freedom of the Seas must have a green or orange color code status at the time of sailing, and all crew members must be fully prepared. Much of the detailed work is already done, and the cruise line has already been busy making sure crew members are fully vaccinated.
The big question will now be who is going on the simulated voyages. A dedicated Facebook group had already been set up earlier in the year, and those interested have been able to submit some minor details in an online form. The test sailings will not be a cruise as we know it.
There will likely be no time to relax as the cruise line will undergo different scenarios during the voyage to ensure health measures are fully prepared for when the real cruises resume in the summer.