Royal Caribbean is first cruise line to receive CDC approval for a test sailing in US waters

Morgan Hines

Royal Caribbean International is the first cruise line to receive approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for one of its ships to do a test sailing in U.S. waters

"CDC has provisionally approved one cruise ship from Royal Caribbean to begin simulated voyages in June, following a request to conduct a simulated voyage and the submission of an accurate and complete port agreement," Caitlin Shockey, spokesperson for the CDC, told USA TODAY Tuesday.

"After 15 months and so much work by so many during very challenging times," Michael Bayley, CEO of Royal Caribbean International, wrote on Facebook.  

The cruise line's Freedom of the Seas ship will be allowed to sail with volunteer passengers. Vaccine requirements are not mandatory for test sailings per the CDC's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. 

All volunteers for test cruises must be 18 years of age or older, but passengers aren't required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, though if they aren't, they must have written documentation from a health care provider or must self certify that they aren't at a heightened risk for COVID-19, according to the CDC. And all must agree to be evaluated for COVID-19 symptoms before embarking, and after disembarking along with an agreement to be tested for COVID-19 three to five days following the cruise.

Bayley shared an image of the letter of approval sent by the CDC. "Onwards and upwards team !"

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Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas