Hours after the CDC announced it would end its ban on cruise ships, Royal Caribbean said it is "eager to welcome guests back onboard".
In a statement shared on social media, Royal Caribbean shared a brief message that it is ready to begin working on new protocols and trial sailings in order to be able to sail again.
"Today’s CDC announcement establishes a pathway for our ships to return to service. We’re eager to welcome guests back on board & will continue to work closely with both CDC & the Healthy Sail Panel to protect the health of our guests, our crew, & the communities where we sail."
"While we are eager to welcome our guests back on board, we have a lot to do between now and then, and we're committed to taking the time to do things right. This includes training our crew in new health and safety protocols and conducting a number of trial sailings to stress-test those protocols in real-world conditions."
"We will continue to work closely with both CDC and the Healthy Sail Panel as we make our plans, and we are confident in our ability to mitigate the risks of the pandemic and protect the health of our guests, our crew, and the communities where we sail."
Royal Caribbean has not announced any restart plans yet, nor which ships will sail first.
Work needed before cruises can restart
While the No Sail order may be gone, it will not be a free-for-all to restart sailings.
The CDC has added a great deal of restrictions on when and how cruises can restart, stipulating many new hurdles cruise lines must overcome in order for a cruise ship to be certified to sail again.
The terms of the Conditional Sailing Order are many, and include provisions for testing crew members and rigorous simulated cruises.
Test sailings will require the ship to test the efficacy of Royal Caribbean’s ability to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 onboard its cruise ship.
During the test cruise, the following activities must be simulated:
- embarkation and disembarkation procedures, including terminal check-in,
- on board activities, including at dining and entertainment venues,
- private island shore excursions (if a port is visited)
- evacuation procedures,
- transfer of symptomatic passengers or crew, or those who test positive for SARSCoV-2, from cabins to isolation rooms,
- quarantine of all remaining passengers and non-essential crew, and
- other activities as may be listed in CDC technical instructions and orders.