Freedom of the Seas conducts a test cruise

Royal Caribbean International launched its first test cruise this week, a two-day sailing on the Freedom of the Seas from Miami, which is a precursor to operating revenue voyages on the ship.

“Freedom of Seas departing Miami today on its simulated voyage!” Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley posted June 20 on his Facebook page. 

According to reports, the ship ended up sailing with about 600 passengers, mostly Royal Caribbean employees serving as volunteers.

Bayley in his Facebook post explained that Royal Caribbean chose a return-to-service path that required a simulated voyages because, as opposed to sister brand Celebrity Cruises, which is slated to set sail Saturday from Port Everglades with at least 95% of its passengers vaccinated, the line “typically sails with 10% of our guests under 12 years old, and today, they are ineligible for the vaccine.

He reiterated the message Royal Caribbean Group Richard Fain sent to travel advisors earlier this month: Being an unvaccinated adult onboard will mean higher costs and more hassle.

“We are committed to continuing to deliver memorable vacations to families, and that is why we are conducting simulated cruises,” Bayley said. “We strongly recommend all guests eligible for the vaccine be fully vaccinated. Travelers eligible but not fully vaccinated or able to show proof of vaccination will be subject to testing and additional health protocols at their own expense. Children not eligible for vaccines will be tested at no cost.”

Bayley said that the Adventure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s first ship back in service in the North American market, has a fully vaccinated crew and is operating with 92% of its guests vaccinated; the remaining 8% are children who are not eligible for the vaccine.

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