Would you like to test COVID-19 security protocols if that meant going on a cruise?
Royal Caribbean will seek volunteer passengers as the company prepares to return its ships to service, Vicki Freed, the company’s senior vice president of sales, business support and service, said in a webinar this week, said reported Cruise Industry News. The details of recruiting volunteers are yet to be determined.
Cruise lines will need to organize mock trips with volunteer passengers before they can resume sailing with reduced capacity under new rules released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.
“We will be doing a series of cruises using our employees and other volunteers to test protocols and make changes,” Freed said, per Cruise Industry News.
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According to the report, Royal Caribbean’s first cruises next year could be short trips to CocoCay, its private island in the Bahamas.
Other cruise lines will undergo similar preparations if they wish to return to U.S. waters, although representatives from Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Corp. did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests.
The CDC is asking cruise lines to organize the mock trips to test their ability to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
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Simulated trips will need to include terminal check-in, embarkation and disembarkation procedures, on-board activities, including dining and entertainment venues, as well as any private island excursions they plan to take. provide passengers, in accordance with the conditional navigation order of the CDC. The idea is to “reproduce the real conditions of navigation on board”.
They must also test evacuation procedures, isolation of sick passengers or crew, and quarantine of other people on board.
And while cruise lines have yet to say how they will select volunteers, the CDC has some requirements. All passengers must be 18 years of age or older and provide written certification from a healthcare provider that they do not have any pre-existing medical conditions that put them at high risk for COVID-19. Cruise lines cannot use volunteering as a condition of employment or “in exchange for future consideration or reward”.
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Ship operators will be required to inform volunteer passengers in writing that they are “participating in a simulation of unproven and untested health and safety protocols for the purpose of simulating cruise ship travel and that navigating during a pandemic is an activity. inherently risky. They will also be responsible for obtaining approval from local health authorities at any ports where the ship docks on a simulated voyage.
Cruise lines will also need to have all voluntary passengers tested for COVID-19 before boarding and again before disembarking.
“It’s going to take a lot of work to restart operations,” Freed said, according to Cruise Industry News. “It’s complicated to follow this whole CDC recommendation and we will do it.”