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Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval for Freedom of the Seas to sail

29 Jun 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean International's first cruises back in the United States are officially a go.

Freedom of the Seas received a Conditional Sailing Certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to offer revenue cruises with paying passengers.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley shared the good news, just days before Freedom is scheduled to return to service.

"This is exciting progress," Mr. Bayley said in a social media post. "We look forward to welcoming our guests onboard."

When she sails, Freedom of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to return to service in the United States.

Freedom’s first revenue sailing will celebrate Fourth of July weekend, July 2-5, departing from Miami and visiting Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island destination, in The Bahamas. 

Freedom of the Seas completed her test cruise last weekend, which was a 3 day, 2 night simulated voyage to Perfect Day at Coco Cay.

Test cruises are part of the Conditional Sail Order (CSO) that the CDC implemented as a way for cruise ships to resume operations.

Since Royal Caribbean will not require at least 95% of its cruise passengers to be fully vaccinated, test cruises are needed to demonstrate to the CDC that the onboard health protocols work.

All of the crew members will be fully vaccinated on Freedom of the Seas, and any unvaccinated guests (mainly children, according to the cruise line) will be subject to additional testing requirements and specific health protocols. 

Some of the protocols for unvaccinated guests include being limited from accessing certain venues onboard, as well as being required to get travel insurance for sailings beginning in August.

Here is a list of the full health protocols for Freedom of the Seas sailings from Miami. will aboard the first sailing of Freedom of the Seas next week to share what the first Royal Caribbean International sailing from the United States in 15 months is like for passengers.