After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accepted Royal Caribbean request for a simulated cruise with volunteer passengers, the business might set sail in late June.
With the certification, the business will be able to put its Covid-19 safety measures to the test aboard the Freedom of the Seas.
“After 15 months and a lot of hard effort by a lot of people during really difficult circumstances. I am thrilled and glad to share some exciting news with all of our staff, loyal visitors, and supporters throughout the world!” Michael Bayley, President, and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises said in a statement. “It’s a bang! Team, keep moving forward!”
According to a letter from the CDC that Bayley published on his Facebook page, the simulated voyage will take place from June 20 to June 22. According to the CDC’s rules, there must be enough volunteers to fill at least 10% of the ship’s capacity, and the crew must comply with the agency’s Covid-19 testing and quarantine criteria.
According to the CDC, passengers who have not been completely vaccinated must either present evidence from a health care professional or a “self-certified declaration” indicating they are not at high risk for serious Covid-19.
According to the Miami Herald, the cruise will sail from PortMiami in South Florida. According to the site, Royal Caribbean is the first business to get its port and local health agreements approved to enable simulated cruises.
“Our commitment to sailing with fully vaccinated staff members and passengers remains unchanged, as it is an important component in ensuring we make every attempt to keep our passengers, crew, and the communities we visit safe,” the cruise liner added.
“The acceptance of our simulated voyages today is the next encouraging milestone on our quest to returning to sailing in the United States after 15 months of hard effort and teamwork. This summer, we are looking forward to hosting our staff, faithful visitors, and supporters from all around the world.”
The CDC issued a No Sail Order in March 2020, halting cruises in the United States due to an increase in coronavirus diagnoses and deaths. The ban came to an end on Oct. 31 when the DOT issued a new order outlining a gradual strategy to resume cruise operations.
Before returning to normal voyages, ships must do at least one trial run, according to the new regulations. Operators would have to certify that 98 percent of personnel and 95 percent of guests are properly vaccinated instead of executing a simulated trip.
All passengers above the age of 16 must be properly vaccinated for sailings before August 1st, according to Royal Caribbean. After that date, the minimum age for cruises is 12.
In Florida, though, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis passed legislation prohibiting businesses from requiring passengers for evidence of immunization, including cruise ships.
“Your personal choice about immunizations will be protected in Florida, and no company or government body will be allowed to refuse you services based on your decision,” he said earlier this month in a statement.