Royal Caribbean waiting on CDC to launch test sailings

Royal Caribbean International can’t “seas” the day quite just yet.

The powerhouse cruise line is waiting on word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch mock cruises before formally resuming sailing at an undetermined, future date, an executive said.

In the latest weekly “Coffee Chat” with travel advisors, Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president of sales, trade support and service, said the cruise line has heard crickets regarding its next steps. Under new guidance from the CDC, cruise lines must run trail test sailings to assess their ability to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, before officially resuming sailing with reduced capacity.

Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas. The powerhouse cruise line is waiting on word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to launch mock cruises before formally resuming sailing at an undetermined, future date, an executive said. (iStock)

In the fall, Royal Caribbean was inundated with interest after announcing it needed fans to step up and serve as passengers for these mock voyages, with over 150,000 expressing interest in setting sail. The cruise line’s official “Volunteers of the Seas” Facebook group is also currently 63,000 members strong.

“The reason you haven’t heard anything is because we don’t have dates yet,” Freed said during the Wednesday call, per Travel Weekly. “We don’t have any more information. But as soon as we do, I promise we will get that information to you.”

Looking towards the horizon, Freed stressed that the company must “tread very carefully” in working with government authorities to restart cruising.

Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. In the fall, the cruise line was inundated with interest after announcing it needed fans to step up and serve as passengers for these mock voyages, with over 150,000 expressing interest in setting sail. (iStock)

“We can’t push them to make us sail,” she explained. “It has to be jointly agreed upon. We have to tread very carefully with them, and we want to work with them as a good partner. We don’t have answers yet, because we’re waiting for answers.”

When the time comes, Royal Caribbean’s first cruises may be short trips to CocoCay, the company’s private island in the Bahamas, Cruise Industry News reported.

Though it remains unclear how many volunteers may eventually be selected for the trial sailings, Royal Caribbean CEO and President Michael Bayley previously teased that that Pinnacle-level passengers of its signature Crown and Anchor loyalty program would likely be among the first invited aboard.

In another nautical news, Canada has banned cruise ships in all Canadian waters until at least February 2022 in the fight against COVID-19, while Oceania Cruises’ 180-day “Around the World” cruise trip, set to sail in 2023, sold out the same day sales opened.

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