Claudia Malo offered a message Friday for any cruise lines that seek volunteer passengers for simulated trips.
What You Need To Know
- Representatives of Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer no information Friday on how to sign up for test cruises
- Both said their companies were still reviewing recently issued CDC guidance on the matter
- An Ormond Beach woman said she completed an online form by Royal Caribbean but did not hear back
“We’re ready,” she told Spectrum News, referring also to her husband.
Malo stood among dozens of readers who commented on a Facebook post from Spectrum News about new government rules that require cruise lines to perform test runs with volunteer passengers before they can return to passenger operations from U.S. ports.
The rules come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose Conditional Sailing Order directs cruise lines to take steps to protect crews and passengers before they can resume full sailing during the coronavirus pandemic.
“My husband and l would volunteer to go,” Malo, an Ormond Beach, Fla. resident, wrote in her Facebook post. “Can you sign up and where to sign up?”
Representatives of Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Group on Friday offered no information on test cruises.
Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen told Spectrum News in an email that the company was reviewing CDC guidance on the matter.
“We appreciate the support and understanding of our guests and travel partners and commit to communicating more information as quickly as possible,” he wrote.
Wrote Royal Caribbean spokesman Jonathon Fishman in an email: “Obviously our teams are still reviewing the latest from the CDC and we’ll keep you updated.”
Yet some prospective travelers have found their way to a “Volunteer of the Seas” online questionnaire from Royal Caribbean that requests contact information and country code and asks, “If selected, how many people will be traveling in your party?”
Malo, the Ormond Beach resident, said she filled out such an online form from Royal Caribbean months ago. “But I never heard from them,” she said.
She hopes that changes. She and her husband have been vaccinated, and “when we’re on a cruise ship, we’re not with big gatherings. We kind of stay to ourselves,” she told Spectrum News.
She added: “We don’t go to the night life, because nothing starts until 10 o’clock, and I’m in bed.”
U.S. ports, including Tampa and Brevard County’s Port Canaveral, have remained closed to cruises since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.
The CDC’s requirement for test sailings comes amid pressure from the cruise industry and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, among others, to open the state’s ports to sailing by mid-summer.
In his email on Friday, Carnival’s Gulliksen told Spectrum News that the test cruises “could add further delays to our return to guest operations.”
Asked to elaborate on test cruises and on the possibility of further delays, he reiterated: “We’re still reviewing the guidance on test cruises.”
Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings threatens to stay out of Florida ports over another DeSantis matter: the governor's signing of an order that bans state businesses from requiring customers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Norwegian asserts that the order conflicts with federal guidelines that would let cruise ships sail in U.S. waters. For example, CDC guidelines say volunteer passengers must hold proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide written documentation of no medical conditions that would put the person at high risk for severe COVID-19.
CEO Frank Del Rio said the Miami-based company was discussing the matter with DeSantis’ office.
“We hope that this doesn’t become a legal football or a political football,” he said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.