Royal Caribbean is the first cruise line to receive approval from the CDC to do a test sailing in U.S. waters. The cruise line’s Freedom of the Seas ship will embark on June 20-22 out of PortMiami, with volunteer passengers. All volunteers for the test cruises must be 18 years of age or older. While passengers are not required to be Covid-19 vaccinated, they must have written documentation from a health care provider or must self-certify that they are not at a heightened risk for COVID-19, according to the CDC. After disembarking, passengers are required to be tested for Covid-19 three to five days following the cruise.
The CDC also stipulated a few key requirements before the test cruise can begin:
- Freedom of the Seas must retain an approved color-coded status with the CDC leading up to the test cruise.
- Volunteers need to be advised of the CDC’s Travel Health Notice for Covid-19 and Cruise Ship Travel prior to the cruise.
- CDC requirements related to testing and quarantine of crew and passengers.
- Any deficiencies during the cruise must be documented.
Volunteers who take part in the test cruise on Royal Caribbean’s 3,934-passenger Freedom of the Seas will not have to pay for the trip, which will be a short, “simulated” voyage designed to test onboard safety and health procedures being implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19. Royal Caribbean is taking names for volunteers through a dedicated web page with a short sign-up form. To be considered, passengers must provide their name, phone number and email address and agree to receive promotional material from the line.