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6 questions we still have after Royal Caribbean released new health guidelines

In:
24Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Earlier this week, the Healthy Sail Panel released its initial recommendations for every cruise line to employ in order to make a safe and healthy return to sailing, but it did not answer every question cruisers have about what cruises will be like once they start up.

The Healthy Sail Panel addressed the major topics related to keeping guests and crew healthy on a cruise, while mitigating the chances of any kind of widespread infections. However, there are still a few areas that will need to be addressed by Royal Caribbean in their cruise line-specific protocols.

Here are the major questions RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have expressed after reading the new recommendations.

What will be the reduced capacity of ships?

For quite a while we have known that the initial cruises that start up will not be at 100% capacity. Royal Caribbean has said many times, and the Panel agrees, that it will artificially reduce the capacity of its ships by not selling as many staterooms as possible.

Neither the Panel nor Royal Caribbean have given an exact percentage to this figure.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain was not able to give an exact figure during a webinar with travel advisors on Wednesday, "I think that is something that we will be dealing with. It will change over time. One of the recommendations from the panel is that we do this incrementally. So we start back and we do some test sailing."

"I don't have a number, and any number I start with is going to be wrong right away afterwards....it may depend on the ships too, it's not there's some magic percentage."

In addition, many guests want to know what happens if a particular sailing already is sold beyond that threshold and what logic will be implemented in order to determine who is not able to sail.

Any changes to Adventure Ocean?

The Healthy Sail Panel recommendations made little mention of children, and no references at all to the children's programming onboard.

While some may believe it will continue operating like any other area of the ship (albeit with the same mask protocols and other ship-wide policies), others are wondering if additional protocols for Adventure Ocean will be added.

Could there be reduced capacity at Adventure Ocean? Will check-in or check-out be handled differently in order to promote social distancing?

Will I get a refund if I test positive?

Another major concern is what happens if you test positive, either before your cruise or at check-in. Will you receive a refund since you are unable (but not unwilling) to cruise?

While the cruise contract everyone signs when booking a cruise seemingly offers no compensation, nothing about the current situation is usual, so will there be any special handling.

One of the recommendations by the Panel is Royal Caribbean is  "incumbent upon cruise operators to foster a culture of caring and compliance for guests."

"This includes education around the need for honesty and timeliness in reporting of COVID-19 symptoms or exposure without fear of negative repercussions."

Can I sightsee before my cruise?

A popular choice for many is to fly to their cruise embarkation port early and do some sightseeing, but will that still be permitted?

The Panel recommends getting a negative test in the days leading up to the cruise, but will going out to see various tourist attractions compromise the integrity of the test.

Will there be a rule prohibiting it, or will testing at the cruise terminal be the final means of determining health.

What changes will be made to the Windjammer and other counter service venues?

A major concern over the last few months was the fate of the Windjammer buffet, but the Panel barely mentioned it.

There is one mention of buffet, where it says it should not be self-service, "the Panel believes that removal of, and substitution for, self-service buffets during this time will help to maintain these general distancing guidelines and avoid overcrowding, and should therefore be implemented across all ships."

This could be easily achieved by having crew members serve guests, but it is unclear yet as to if that will be the only change.

Exactly where will I be able to not wear a mask?

A major focal point is the requirement to wear masks while onboard, although there are at least a few areas where masks are not required.

The question remains where exactly will masks not be required.

The Panel noted masks are not needed in these locations:

  • Cabin
  • Seating in restaurants and bars/lounges
  • Outdoor settings as long as physical distancing is feasible

Will this be the only places, or are more available? How will smoking be handled in designated areas? Is the Solarium considered an outdoor setting?

Will the new Senate bill help the cruise lines restart?

In:
24Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Last week, two U.S. Senators introduced a new piece of legislation to Congress that it hopes will get cruise ships sailing again while changing the structure of how cruise lines are regulated, but does this bill have a chance of actually becoming law?

Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio introduced the Set Sail Safely Act that if passed, will create a Maritime Task Force focused on the health, safety, security, & logistical changes to allow cruise lines & ports to resume operations. 

While this proposed new law sounds great, what exactly should cruise fans and the industry expect going forward? 

The reality of most bills

In order to get some answers, I turned to Kelli Davis, who is an adjunct government professor and high school social studies teacher in Texas.

In order for any bill to become law, it has to pass a few key steps, including a few votes along the way. In fact, only about two to three percent of legislation that gets introduced actually becomes law.

Otto von Bismark famously said, "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made," and digging into the nuances of Congress, it becomes quite clear why.

Many times in Congress, bills are introduced as so-called "PR bills", whose purpose is to build public relations with constituents or other allies within the Senate or House of Representatives.

While these PR bills may not ever have a chance of becoming law, it does bring attention to the issue. In the case of the Set Sail Safely Act, both Senators issued press releases related to it, and it got national attention across major media outlets.

The Set Sail Safely Act

While we won't know the full intention of this bill without talking to either Senator, it does stand to reason that both Florida Senators created this bill as a way to demonstrate they recognize the concern for the cruise industry and the ripple effect it is having on their constituents.

Ms. Davis provided her opinion of the motivation behind proposing this kind of legislation, "It's the people that own businesses in Fort Lauderdale, in Miami, in Cocoa Beach, who are dealing with the ripple effect of the cruisers and the cruise industry not being there. And so Rubio and Scott, both with this bill, are able to say, if anything, they're able to put out a press release. Hey, we're trying to do something for you. We're trying to help you."

The Set Sail Safely Act has been introduced, and has been read into the record and referred to the Commerce Committee that deals with science and transpiration.

Ms. Davis points out that of the twenty three members of the Commerce Committee, only six have cruise ports their states. Not to mention the Senate is currently embroiled in the fight over whether or not to replace the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

"Ultimately what will determine whether or not this bill gets a vote is whether it's deemed important," Ms. Davis explained. "Is it important enough to the committee members to give it a hearing, to give it time, to give it consideration, to give it a vote, because it requires a vote from the committee to get it to the floor for a full Senate vote."

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain was asked about the new legislation during a webinar with travel advisors on Wednesday, and he also seems to feel the thought behind the bill means more than the potential new law itself.

"I'm not really going to comment so much on the legislation that's been proposed, but I think what it does show is it's another example of the desire of people to get back to closer sense of normalcy if and only if we can do it in a healthy and safe manner."

"I think the introduction of that legislation shows there is political support and we have it in so many other ways that provided we can do so in a healthy and safe manner."

Next steps for the bill

In order for the Set Sail Safely Act to become law, it would have to get enough votes to make it out of committee, then it goes to the full floor for a debate on the full floor. 

Depending on how the debate turns out, then it would go to full vote and then the whole process has to start all over again in the House of Representatives.

You can track the progress of the bill on the U.S. Congress website.

Royal Caribbean will redeploy five cruise ships for summer 2021

In:
23Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Five Royal Caribbean cruise ships will have their summer 2021 schedules changed up, as the cruise line announced an update to its deployment plans.

Royal Caribbean says it made these changes based on, "market research and valuable feedback from guests and travel partners".

Our new deployment line-up provides guests with greater variety, including a season of short Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona and more island time in the Caribbean with additional summer homeports in Tampa, FL and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Guests with confirmed bookings between April and October 2021 whose cruises are affected by these changes will be notified directly within the next three weeks, as the new itineraries are added. These existing bookings will continue to be covered by Royal Caribbean’s Cruise with Confidence program.

Europe

Adventure of the Seas will sail from Barcelona and offer a mix of 4- and 5-night short Mediterranean itineraries. She was previously scheduled to sail from Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Jewel of the Seas will sail from Stockholm and Copenhagen on 7-night cruises to the Baltics and Scandanavia. She was previously scheduled to sail from Amsterdam and Barcelona.

Caribbean

Independence of the Seas will sail from Miami instead of Fort Lauderdale for the summer season, offering 6- and 8-night cruises to the Southern and Western Caribbean.

Vision of the Seas will cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the Southern Caribbean. She was originally scheduled to sail from Barcelona.

Brilliance of the Seas will stay in Tampa for the summer, offering 4-, 5- and 7-night cruises to the Caribbean. She was originally scheduled to sail from Miami.

Royal Caribbean’s other summer 2021 cruises will sail on as planned in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and Asia-Pacific. 

Individual reservations will be moved to the new ship/sailing on-or-before September 28, 2020.

If a future cruise credit was leveraged to pay for a reservation on a cancelled itinerary, the FCC will be reinstated for future use, under its original terms. Likewise, for impacted guests preferring to cancel in lieu of a re-accommodation offer, the reinstatement of the original FCC will occur, opening the flexibility to select an alternate future cruise of his/her choice, within the set parameters of the FCC terms.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman says new health protocols help cruises "coming back sooner"

In:
23Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain spoke with travel advisors on Wednesday about the body of work and impact of the Healthy Sail Panel's initial recommendations.

Mr. Fain touched on a variety of topics related to the new protocols, the work of the Panel, and of course the return of cruising.

New protocols will allow cruises to come back sooner

Not only have the Healthy Sail Panel recommendations been well-received among cruise fans and industry leaders, but Richard Fain believes they have the basis to even get cruises back up and going even sooner than expected.

The question Mr. Fain asked the Panel after the protocols were submitted was could Royal Caribbean come back to a safe and healthy environment? 

"And their answer was, if you adopt all these protocols, you can."

"And obviously we are going to, and we believe that will greatly accelerate the time, so we're looking forward to coming back sooner."

"If they don't want to wear a mask, then they shouldn't come on the cruise"

There has been a lot of opinions if people are willing to go on a cruise and be required to wear a mask, and Mr. Fain touched on the fact that masks will be required at least in the beginning.

"It is one of the single most effective things you can do to reduce the transmission of this disease. And at least when we start, it will be an important part of the process."

"There are people who object to doing so and won't do so, but we will make sure they understand that that is, at least in the beginning, a part of the experience. And if they don't want to wear a mask, then they shouldn't come on the cruise."

"At least in the beginning, it will be an important part of our protocols on board. And I think a lot of people understand the need to protect against transmission on board."

Both Mr. Fain and Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, reiterated that masks will not be required to be worn everywhere, including in staterooms or while dining or on open decks where permissible.

Big focus on preventing a ship quarantined

There are a lot of cruise fans concerned regardless of any rules or regulations, that they could be stuck on a ship for an extended period of time due to a positive case onboard, similar to what happened to some ships in Asia before cruising shut down.

Mr. Fain noted a major focus of the Panel was on response, contingency planning, and execution.

"I don't think that many people are so much afraid of getting infection, but they don't want to be on a ship where somebody else gets infection and then they get quarantined or isolated."

"A really important part and a really big focus of the panel's effort was on how to respond if we do have a case that gets on board."

Even Mr. Fain acknowledged that statistically, it is likely a case will pop up onboard eventually, but the system will be designed the catch it early and avoid it becoming a major issue.

"We respond properly. We have a extensive contingency plan so that we don't have to go through one of these processes of quarantining huge numbers of people. We take care of the the the small number that we catch early and everybody else can go about their business."

Royal Caribbean still has to turn protocols into rules

The Panel's work are recommendations, and Mr. Fain did note that Royal Caribbean still has to take the recommendations and turn them into cruise line policy.

"I should this explain these are recommendations from the panel. We actually then take these recommendations and put them into our detailed protocol."

"We'll be doing our own rules and we'll be working those through with the CDC and other regulatory bodies, but the panel's report is really our North Star on this."

"Maybe in our protocols, we put this in more operationally oriented language, but I think the vast bulk of the substance is clear from the report."

"Our protocols will be based on the report, but not a verbatim transcript. And we will we will be issuing those relatively soon."

Testing is single most important step

Mr. Fain was adamant of the importance that testing will play to keep everyone safe onboard.

"We do think that we have procedures that we could put in place that gets you the tests, have the test results reported directly to us."

"I think we have processes that will enable you relatively easily to get the tests and have... the confirmation of the negative tests forwarded to us electronically."

No comment back yet from CDC

Mr. Fain was asked if the CDC had responded yet to the Healthy Sail Panel protocols, but Mr. Fain explained they had not, nor did they expect them to quite this quickly.

"No, we only just gave it to them on Monday, and as you've seen, it is a extensive and comprehensive document, but we have not heard any comment back from them since we submitted it on Monday, nor would we have expected to do that quickly."

5 recommendations for wearing masks on cruise ships by the Healthy Sail Panel

In:
23Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings joint Healthy Sail Panel announced its initial recommendations on Monday, and as many expected, we will have to wear a mask on a cruise.

Wearing a mask is one of many new protocols that will be part of the overall plan to prevent, detect and treat infections on a cruise ship, and it is one of the most contentious topics related to what guests are willing to do (or not).

Having sifted through the proposed policies, here are the important takeaways from what wearing a mask on a cruise will probably entail.

Guests and crew members should wear masks

As many guessed, the wearing of personal protective equipment, such as a face mask, should be required for guests and crew members in accordance with CDC recommendations while on board the ship

The panel landed on this recommendation based on "increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 from spreading the virus to others."

They cited a systematic review in The Lancet of 172 observational studies in health care and non-health care settings across 16 countries and six continents that found a reduced risk of infection with the use of face masks.

The Healthy Sail Panel knew masks are a divisive topic

The Healthy Sail Panel engaged in consumer insight surveys to get a sense of what people thought about masks, and there is clearly differing opinions.

Surveys conducted by the cruise industry show that some guests are unwilling to cruise if face coverings are required, while other consumers are unwilling to cruise if face masks are not required.

In cruises that have resumed in Europe, a significant portion of guests wear face masks in public areas, even when they are not mandated. Therefore, in the interest of limiting potential spread of virus, the Panel recommends that face coverings are a simple and effective strategy that should be employed.

Masks on a cruise are not a permanent change

While having to wear a mask on a cruise is something we will have to deal with when cruises resume, it will likely eventually go away as a rule.

The Panel recognizes that as disease prevalence goes down, face covering requirements may be loosened over time based on the latest available scientific data, public health agency recommendations, and risk modeling. However, in the initial period of sailing, they are an important tool that should be regularly used.

There will be exceptions where you have to wear a mask

Wearing a mask is important, but not required everywhere.

The Panel indicated guests should wear face coverings in any indoor, congregate setting regardless of physical distancing measures, but should not be required to wear face coverings in their own cabins.

A notable exception is indoor dining. Seating in restaurants and bars/lounges should allow for physical distancing, so guests can eat and drink without needing face coverings while seated.

Face coverings are not required in outdoor settings as long as physical distancing is feasible. However, if physical distancing is not feasible in certain outdoor settings, masks/face coverings among guests should be required in those locations.

For crew members, masks should be worn any time they are engaging with other crew members or guests (i.e., in all public settings, both indoors and outdoors).

The types of masks you should (and should not) wear

The Panel pointed out the types of masks guests should wear, based largely on CDC recommendations.

CDC recommends that masks have two or more layers, be worn over the nose and mouth, be worn by individuals two years of age and older, and should not be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance.

CDC does not recommend that non-health care workers wear masks intended for health care workers and also does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields at this time.

Cruise operators should ensure that requirements for face masks are in accordance with the most up-to-date CDC guidelines.

Medical conditions and Disabilities

The guidelines also spell out recommendations for guests who have certain special needs that preclude them from being able to wear a mask.

Individuals for whom wearing a mask is medically contraindicated should be directed to a secondary medical screening (to be conducted in person or as a telehealth consult) where a case-by-case assessment of the individual’s fitness for travel will be made, and a recommendation to allow or deny boarding will be based on the fitness for travel determination.

The Panel says case-by-case exceptions may be granted for individuals for whom wearing a mask is medically contraindicated.

"In your dreams!" Royal Caribbean and NCL CEOs have funny exchange while talking new health protocols

In:
22Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. executives had a funny moment during an interview with CNBC.

Richard Fain and Frank Del Rio started off this week doing lots of interviews to help showoff the hard work the Healthy Sail Panel has had in creating a comprehensive set of new recommendations and protocols.

During the course of one of these interviews, the host attempted to compliment Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line as the industry leaders of cruising, by comparing the two cruise lines to the #1 and #2 soft drink manufacturers, Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

While being complimented as the top two cruise lines is a pleasant honor, it is well known how much more dominant Coke is over Pepsi, and Mr. Del Rio couldn't help but quickly say that NCL was the Coke of the two.

Mr. Fain, equally feeling his cruise line was worthy of the top honor, quickly retorted back "In your dreams, Frank! In your dreams."

The lighthearted moment caps off a big couple of days for the entire cruise industry, which believes a return to cruises in North America is closer than ever thanks to a broad set of new protocols, coupled with success in limited cruising restarting in Europe.

The blue ribbon panel of scientific experts have produced over 70 steps they believe cruise lines can adopt and use to be able to offer cruises as safely as possible.

Recommendations include testing, the use of face coverings, and enhanced sanitation procedures on ships and in terminals. 

The Panel is chaired by Governor Mike Leavitt, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Healthy Sail Panel identified five areas of focus every cruise operator should address to improve health and safety for guests and crew, and reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships:

  • Testing, Screening and Exposure Reduction
  • Sanitation and Ventilation
  • Response, Contingency Planning and Execution
  • Destination and Excursion Planning
  • Mitigating Risks for Crew Members

In each category, the Healthy Sail Panel created practical and actionable recommendations to address specific safety concerns. Among the recommendations are key strategies such as:

  • Taking aggressive measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering a ship through robust education, screening and testing of both crew and guests prior to embarkation
  • Reducing transmission via air management strategies and enhanced sanitation practices
  • Implementing detailed plans to address positive infection on board, including contingencies for onboard treatment, isolation and rapid evacuation and repatriation
  • Closely controlling shore excursions
  • Enhanced protection for crew members

Royal Caribbean looks to take live cruise ship acts to new heights with drones

In:
22Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is going to take their live shows on cruise ships to new heights, according to a recently shared video.

Nick Weir, Senior Vice President of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean International, shared a video on Twitter of a demonstration of the cruise line's drone technology for an upcoming show on its newest cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean has used drones in shows in the last couple of years, but Mr. Weir characterized this drone performance on Odyssey of the Seas as, "most complex technology yet."

A total of 48 drones are being used in the technical rehearsal with a performer in the middle of them, appearing to command the drones around him.

Royal Caribbean has already used drones on at least two ships, including Symphony of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.

The new show is being developed for Odyssey of the Seas, which is currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard.

Royal Caribbean has not yet revealed the entertainment for Odyssey of the Seas, but Mr. Weir enjoys showing off brief teases on what we can expect to see.

September 22 photo

The shipyard released a new construction photo this week of Odyssey of the Seas, which is due to be delivered in Spring 2021.

Once complete, Odyssey of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean's second Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship, sailing from Rome in Summer 2021.

After her inaugural season in Europe, Odyssey will then continue its inaugural year in Fort Lauderdale, FL with 8- and 6-night Caribbean itineraries.

5 things you've probably overlooked with the new cruise protocols

In:
22Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

The Healthy Sail Panel announced their initial recommendations for new policies that cruise lines should adopt in order to have a healthy return to service, but there are a few key facts you may have overlooked in reviewing it all.

The globally recognized medical and scientific experts assembled to craft these new recommendations have spent months working on a set of changes they think a cruise line should implement, but having spent some time with the document and hearing from cruise line executives, there are a few very important pieces of information to remember when reading over their conclusions.

Here are five facts you should be aware of when it comes to the new Healthy Sail Panel recommendations.

The recommendations are not yet rules

Believe it or not, but the 74 detailed steps announced by the Healthy Sail Panel are not actually the rules adopted by Royal Caribbean, or any cruise line.

The body of work provided is a set of initial findings that was submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in response to a CDC request for public comment that will be used to inform future public health guidance and preventative measures relating to travel on cruise ships.

One of the next steps is for Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and any cruise line to take these recommendations and turn them into cruise-line specific rules.

Here is a quote from yesterday's press release to that point, "Fain and Del Rio said each company will use the Panel’s recommendations to inform the development of new, detailed operating protocols, which will be submitted to the CDC and other authorities around the globe for review and approval".

So the bottom line is the actual rules Royal Caribbean adopts may not be exactly word-for-word the same as what was released on Monday.

Many of the regulations are not meant to be permanent

If the idea of wearing a mask, having limited seating options around the ship, and being tested every day seem like a less-than-ideal kind of vacation, keep in mind these rules are not meant to be around forever.

Many of the 74 recommendations are labeled as a temporary Change that could be modified or removed later.

Royal Caribbean recognizes that what is happening today in the world can be drastically different than next month or six months from now. As a result, many of the policies are meant to at some point be discontinued over time.

Nothing has changed when cruises might actually restart (yet)

While all of this news is a major milestone in the process of resuming sailing around the world, nothing has changed yet as to when cruises might resume.

The CDC's No Sail Order has had no change in when it will expire, or even possibly be extended. 

Neither Royal Caribbean or any cruise line has committed to a firm restart date of cruises in the Americas.

The work of the Healthy Sail Panel, along with the committment by the cruise industry that cruises will resume in the Americas, is a big deal and worthy of attention, but it has not yet moved the needle of when we can expect to get back on a cruise.

The recommendations ignore a vaccine

Something important to keep in mind with all of the Healthy Sail Panel recommendations is they intentionally ignored any potential vaccine.

On page 16 of the recommendations, the Panel explains that it is too early to know what effect a vaccine will have in the coming months, but the Panel did not want to wait for one to come out and then make recommendations.

As a result, they are ignoring the vaccine for now and working off pre-vaccine steps.

The Panel acknowledges that its recommendations regarding testing may change over the coming months as the testing landscape evolves, and particularly once an effective vaccine is widely available. However, given the uncertainties around the timing, availability, and performance of a vaccine, the Panel recommends waiting until there is more certainty about these issues before recommending changes to the testing protocols based on vaccine availability.

This means once a vaccine does come out, some of these recommendations could change to reflect the impact a vaccine has on the populous.

Certain masks are likely to be prohibited

While face masks are a major component to keeping guests and crew members safe onboard, the Healthy Sail Panel deferred to CDC guidelines on the kinds of masks you should wear.

Specifically, it outlines which sorts of masks you should and should not be allowed to wear on a cruise ship.

  • Masks should have two or more layers, be worn over the nose and mouth, be worn by individuals two years of age and older
  • Masks should not be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance
  • CDC does not recommend that non-health care workers wear masks intended for health care workers
  • Gaiter masks and face shields are not recommended

These recommendations mirror what Walt Disney World has implemented with its own set of mask rules.

Up to 45% off pre-cruise purchases with Royal Caribbean's new sale

In:
22Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is offering up to 45% off cruise extras you can add-onto your vacation, such as drink packages, shore excursions and more.

The Fall into Savings Sale begins today, and runs between September 22 - 30, 2020 and is valid on sailings from November 1, 2020 - October 31, 2021.

Here is what is included during the sale:

BEVERAGE: Up to 45% off

  • Classic Soda Beverage Package: 40% off onboard prices.
  • Classic Soda Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: Discount varies by ship.
  • Dasani Water Cans: 40% off onboard prices.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package: Discount varies by ship.
  • Deluxe Beverage Package + VOOM Surf & Stream 1 Device: 40% off onboard prices.
  • Refreshment Package: 40% off onboard prices.

SHORE EXCURSIONS: Up to 40% off

  • Shore Excursions: Discount varies by ship. 

INTERNET: Up to 65% off

  • The Key: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes MJ)
  • VOOM Surf + Stream Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship.
  • VOOM Surf Voyage Package 1, 2, 3, 4 Device(s): Discount varies by ship. 

DINING: Up to 55% off

  • Unlimited Dining Package on 3N – 9N sailings: Discount varies by ship. (Excludes MJ, VI)

ACTIVITIES: 20% off

  • All Access Ship Tour: (Excludes BR, NE, OY, QN)

 GIFTS & GEAR: Up to 20% off (Excludes OY, QN, VY)

  • Anniversary Decorations with Champagne
  • Happy Birthday Decorations with Chocolate Cake & Strawberries
  • Happy Birthday Decorations with Vanilla Cake & Strawberries
  • Inky Beach Set
  • Inky Beach Towel (TicTacToe)
  • Inky Travel Set
  • Red Wine and Cheese
  • Royal Caribbean Beach Towel
  • Strawberries with Champagne
  • White Wine and Cheese

PHOTO PACKAGES: Up to 70% off

  • Photo Packages: From 5 - 100 print and/or digital options: discount varies by ship. (See full terms for exclusions)
  • Photo Package: Private Photo Session: discount varies by ship. (See full terms for exclusions)

To check if your sailing has this new offer available, log into the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's web site look for any available offers. Keep in mind that not all sailings may see the sale applicable, nor are all offers significantly cheaper than previously posted.

If you spot a better discount on something you already pre-purchased, you should be able to cancel the purchase and then re-purchase the same item under this promotion.

4 Cruise CEOs see cruises restarting in USA thanks to newly announced safety policies

In:
21Sep2020
By: Matt Hochberg

Cruise line executives held a press conference on Monday to unify with one message: cruises are going to resume around the world, including the United States.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) hosted a virtual press conference with CEOs from Royal Caribbean Group, Carnival Corporation, MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. to announce the cruise industry has submitted their new comprehensive protocols to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to get cruises started up again.

The cruise line executives and industry leaders spoke to the a variety of topics related to new policies that it hopes will get cruises started up again.

Adam Goldstein, Global Chair of CLIA, kicked off the meeting with a bold statement on the industry's commitment to starting up, "we are in a position to announce the mandatory core elements of health protocols that we see as a path to a phased resumption of ocean-going cruise operations in the Americas."

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain spoke about the Healthy Sail Panel's work that was also announced today in a "very transparent way to support a pathway for a resumption of cruising from U.S. ports."

"We said we wouldn't start until we were ready, but we think that the science has advanced and the technology has advanced to a point where we can safely proceed forward with our objective of giving the best experiences in the world in a very safe and controlled environment."

How soon can this happen?

While each of the cruise line executives had a positive outlook on taking a giant step towards cruises resuming in the Americas, the obvious question was when might that occur.

Brian Salerno, CLIA Senior Vice President, Global Maritime Policy, said that the cruise industry has provided as much detail as possible to the CDC to accelerate the restart process, but "we don't have a specific time frame from CDC when that will be allowed."

"Obviously, we'd like to be able to salvage something of the 2020 season. We know it's a it's a laborious process to go through the thirty five hundred or so comments that they've received in in response to their request. But we think the CLIA submission and the other industry level submissions would be very informative and hopefully make their jobs a little bit easier."

Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, commented on ability to operate cruises by the end of this year, "We are very confident that the recommendations that the Healthy Sail Panel plan...will allow us to cruise safely."

"We've not put a time factor on it. We underlying all this is we will cruise when we believe it is safe to cruise."

"We must develop the confidence among the authorities, among the travel agents, among the guests, the whole cruise ecosystem."

In terms of minimums, Carnival Cruise CEO Arnold Donald said it has taken "a good 30 days" in Europe to get a ship ready to go. 

"We do have the rigorous protocols in place for crew. We have to fly crew back in, and they have to go through rigorous testing, in some cases isolation and quarantine as an added measure and so on. And so it does take some time."

Later in the meeting, Mr. Del Rio was asked if the cruise lines feel it is safe to cruise right now with these new protocols.

"Absolutely. We have great confidence in the comprehensive and layered approach that our healthy and safety panel has put forth in which we are incorporating into the detailed protocols that we will be submitting to the CDC very shortly."

"We do feel very, very confident that they'll work in practice as well as they they look on paper."

"But that's why we're going to have a phased approach. We're going to test it. We're going to make adjustments along the way and and hopefully we will have a great start, build momentum, build confidence among all the constituents of the cruise industry so that we can get back to what we do best."

Guest and crew testing

One of the major aspects of the return to cruise is testing of passengers and crew.

Mr. Goldstein was blunt in his explanation of how important testing is to the cruise industry, "We should be clear that the commitment is one hundred percent testing of guests and crew prior to embarkation."

"The element that we're committing to does not specify the type of testing or exactly the timing of testing prior."

"The essence of what we're announcing today, unlike any other sector of travel, to our knowledge, is that every cruise line member of CLIA will test every guest and every crew prior to embarkation."

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