The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines for cruise ships to get to the test voyage stage in its commitment to get U.S. operators sailing with passengers again this Summer.
The CDC issued documents to the U.S. based lines along with the statement:
“With the issuance of these documents, cruise ship operators now have all the necessary requirements and recommendations they need to start simulated voyages before resuming restricted passenger voyages.”
Along with providing an open line of communication so that operators can question the CDC about any of the terms and conditions, the CDC offered up the COVID-19 Conditional Sailing Certificate application that cruise lines will need to satisfy in the final step before being able to sail from U.S. ports.
The CDC also reiterated the announcement made on April 29, stating that ships will be allowed to bypass the simulated cruises with ‘test passengers’–to ensure ships will be able to operate without spreading the coronavirus–and go directly to sailing with passengers as long as 98% percent of its crew and 95% percent of its passengers are fully vaccinated.
This high vaccination level poses issues for ships who still want to invite children on board so these lines will definitely find themselves conducting the test cruises.
There are still plenty of hoops for the lines to jump through, and it will be an ongoing situation where certificates will need to be continuously renewed and inspections will done on the regular, but lines are still seeing the glimmer of hope that the mid-July start date will stick.
If you are interested in volunteering for a simulated voyage, you will have several hoops to jump through, too. Firstly, you must be 18 years of age and have proof full vaccination.
You will also need to sign a waiver, saying you understand you are participating in inherently risky activity. There are possible simulations that may be conducted when on board to ensure the ports of call could handle an outbreak and you will notice that protocols like hand hygiene, use of face masks, and social distancing for passengers and crew, as well as ship sanitation will be evolving while you are on board. You will be expected to comply will all changes.
Don’t expect to be able to get off the ship in port without being signed up for a shore excursion and expect to be Covid tested on embarkation and disembarkation.
Oh, and you’ll have to sign up ASAP- Royal Caribbean Cruise Line reportedly already has 10,000 volunteers!
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