Royal Caribbean May Need Volunteers for Trial Cruises

Navigator Pool Deck

If Royal Caribbean International wants to cruise out a U.S. homeport anytime soon, it will need a permit from the CDC as part of the new Conditional Framework the agency has issued.

That will include the company having a number of trial cruises using employees and volunteers as stand-in passengers to test safety and health protocols. 

“We are going to be doing a series of sailings using our employees and other volunteers to test out the protocols and make modifications,” sadi Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and trade support and service, on a webinar on Wednesday. 

Freed said the company will be looking for volunteers, but hasn’t quite yet worked on the details.

She said that the first cruises to be offered in 2021 may be short sailings to CocoCay, which would allow the company to operate in a bubble on its own private island.

Industry sources expect the Mariner and Navigator of the Seas, the company’s recently-refurbished “short Caribbean” ships, to be the vessels pressed into service.

“It is going to require a lot of work to restart operations,” Freed said. “It is complicated to go through this entire CDC recommendation and we are going to do it.”

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