“We can now say with great confidence that ships of the Royal Caribbean Group will be operating from US ports as early as next month,” said Fain in a video message while a US flag is waving in the shipyard behind him.
And he emphasized: “The experience on board will be great, with only minimal restrictions compared to cruising before the pandemic. The land experience will be great too, with minimal restrictions. ‘
First inquiry about sailing at CDC. submitted
Last week, Royal Caribbean officially submitted its first sailing permit application in the hope that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will approve it soon.
(The Royal Caribbean International brand reportedly has port agreements with Port Everglades and Port Canaveral, and CEO Michael Bayley confirmed the line filed its first of several Phase 2A plans with the CDC on Friday. He did not disclose the port. and neither does the company.)
Dialogue and Vaccines
In his video update, Fain said that dialogue with CDC has improved by “1000%” over the past few weeks, allowing both parties to understand each other’s concerns and Royal Caribbean “so much helpful data we get from the crossings have collected ‘to share with the agency abroad.’
The widespread use of vaccines “has proven to be the hoped-for turning point,” he continued, “and our positive, constructive dialogue with the CDC has borne fruit.”
Different vaccination strategies for Celebrity / Silversea from RCI
Fain said that in any scenario, Royal Caribbean intends to vaccinate all of its crew and expects “essentially 100% of our crew to have received their vaccinations before cruises start in the US”.
There are two scenarios for passengers: Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises are expected to meet the CDC’s 95 percent vaccination threshold for passengers to qualify for a test of simulated voyages with volunteers.
In the case of the Royal Caribbean brand, which carries many children, ships “may not meet that 95% threshold, but even here the vast majority will be vaccinated,” said Fain. Vaccines are currently available in the US for children 12 years and older.
Optimistic masks are not needed
There are some restrictions on the actual cruise experience, but these are temporary and “similar to what everyone is used to”.
Fain is optimistic that fully vaccinated travelers don’t require masks anywhere. There will be social distancing in some places, but the ships will start with a lower load, “so there should really just be a bigger feeling of space,” as he put it.
Buffets are offered, but no self-service service.
The biggest changes will take place behind the scenes, such as improved air filter systems and improved cleaning.
Shore excursions are offered by tour operators who meet Royal Caribbean requirements and in most cases travelers can organize their own tours subject to local regulations.
On a day that President Biden signed the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act, which allowed foreign flag cruise ships to operate there this summer, the head of Royal Caribbean also praised travel advisors for reaching out to their lawmakers and using social media advocate for cruises and speak out to treat cruises like other areas.
Fain concluded by asking the travel agents to “learn all we do to ensure the safety of a cruise, but also the excitement of a cruise”.
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