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Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval to start test sailings on Ovation of the Seas

15 Jul 2021
Matt Hochberg

Another Royal Caribbean cruise ship has a test sailing scheduled.

Royal Caribbean confirmed on Thursday that Ovation of the Seas has received permission from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to start test cruises.

Ovation is one of a half dozen ships within the Royal Caribbean fleet to have gotten approval to start test cruises so far.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley confirmed the news on Facebook, along with sail dates.

Ovation will sail from Seattle to Alaska on July 30 to August 4th.

"Onwards and upwards ship by ship," Mr. Bayley added with the news.

Simulated voyages (also known as test cruises) are when cruise lines can operate ships with volunteer passengers in order to prove their new protocols work.

Read moreEverything you need to know about Royal Caribbean test cruises

These are not cruises you can book, but rather, are limited voyages where a cruise line invites certain unpaid volunteers to help go through all the necessary steps and procedures to ensure cruise ships can be run safely.

Each cruise ship needs to be approved by the CDC in order to conduct test cruises.

During these test cruises, Royal Caribbean will go through a variety of scenarios to prove to the CDC that the ship can conduct sailings in a safe manner. Specifically, the new protocols aimed at preventing Covid-19 from getting onboard the ship are at the heart of these dry runs.

Each ship must conduct at least one simulated cruise, and each voyage must be between 2-7 days in length with a least one overnight stay, including through embarkation, disembarkation, and post-disembarkation testing.

According to the CDC, passengers and crew must meet standards during the simulated voyage for hand hygiene, use of face masks, and social distancing for passengers and crew, as well as ship sanitation.

Royal Caribbean must modify meal service and entertainment venues to facilitate social distancing during the simulated voyage.