UPDATE: The CDC announced Wednesday that Royal Caribbean can run actual, not simulated passenger cruise service from Port Everglades next month.
The “Celebrity Edge” will leave the port on June 26th for a seven-night cruise to the Caribbean.
It will be the first cruise with paying passengers to take off from a US port in over a year.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, the Miami-based cruise line celebrated more good news.
The CDC yesterday gave Royal Caribbean International clearance to begin test cruises, the next step on the road to resuming revenue cruises.
Royal Caribbean Becomes First Cruise Line to Receive CDC Approval for Test Cruises This Summer https://t.co/QVChgLyLVY
— People (@people) May 26, 2021
Starting June 20th, Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas will operate a “simulated” cruise with volunteer passengers.
Royal Caribbean is the first cruise line to get CDC approval for simulated cruises.
“After 15 months of hard work and collaboration, today’s approval of our simulated cruises on board Freedom of the Seas is the latest promising step in our path to return to sailing in the U.S.,” Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley told PEOPLE in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming our crew, loyal guests and supporters from around the world this summer.”
According to the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), passengers on simulated cruises are not required to be vaccinated — though if they aren’t, they must either provide written documentation from a health care provider or must give a personal statement attesting they are not at high risk for developing a severe infection if exposed to COVID-19.
All must also agree to be evaluated for COVID-19 symptoms both before embarking and after disembarking, as well as agree to be tested for COVID-19 in a 3-5 day period following the test cruise’s completion.
Test cruises will only be allowed to carry 10 percent of total passenger capacity permitted. Meals, excursions, and entertainment events will require social distancing.