Royal Caribbean Completes Test Sailing to Resume Cruises in the US
With the long-awaited return of cruising happening tomorrow, Royal Caribbean has recently completed a simulated cruise with volunteers to test getting their ships back to sea this summer.
The simulation cruise was filled with 650 Royal Caribbean employees who volunteered for the voyage. Their Freedom of the Seas ship departed Miami for its three-day, two-night cruise to Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas.
Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean, noted that the cruise line is awaiting feedback from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to proceed with upcoming cruises.
The CDC is currently requiring cruises in the US to complete these test sailings unless 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The test cruise was required to carry at least 10% of the ship's maximum capacity and volunteers had to agree to post-trip COVID testing.
Any passenger who wasn't fully vaccinated at the time of departure had to show written documentation from a health professional or self-certify that they were not at increased risk for contracting COVID-19.
While the test cruise is huge a step towards resuming operations for Royal Caribbean, the cruise line was forced to postpone some sailings after eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19. This setback is expected to affect a number of their July sailings, but not their entire upcoming summer season.