he figure was announced by President and CEO Michael Bayley on Facebook, just four days after the company launched the initiative.
“Part of the process for any cruise line to receive approval to restart cruises from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to conduct a series of test sailings that have volunteer passengers onboard,” the cruise company said.
Royal Caribbean has not announced any plans on when its test sailings might begin, although they could start as early as December.
It’s also not said how it would pick people from the public to help test out these cruises.
“We are still reviewing the CDC framework and do not have details on our simulated sailings,” Royal Caribbean said.
“While we review the requirements proposed by the CDC and consider when we can host our simulated trial sailings, we are gathering information from those who have shown interest on our Facebook group and will be in touch with them when we have more details.
“Our priority is to ensure that we can exercise our comprehensive set of measures in a safe and healthy manner while making sure we provide a memorable vacation experience.”
The vote in confidence in cruising comes amid the PR disaster for SeaDream Yacht Club after five passengers tested positive on the SeaDream 1 voyage despite all returning a negative test prior to boarding a week earlier.
The Caribbean voyage – the first Caribbean cruise to set sail after the pandemic – was immediately aborted after the first guest tested positive on Wednesday and the ship returned to Barbados. Passengers had to be quarantined in their cabins ahead of further shoreside tests.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has been advising British holidaymakers against all ocean-going cruises since July and has given no indication of when this advice will be lifted.
Italian cruise line MSC is one of the few cruise operators to have relaunched a handful of cruises in the Mediterranean, but earlier this month it suspended sailings on the MSC Magnifica until mid-December due to a rise in Covid-19 cases in Europe. It has promised to introduce more rigorous testing on the single ship it is still operating, the MSC Grandiosa.
In September, the US CDC revealed that from 1 March to 10 July there had been 2,973 cases of Covid-19 or ‘Covid-like’ illnesses on cruise ships and there were 34 deaths. During that period, there were 99 outbreaks on 123 cruise ships, meaning that 80% of US ships were affected.