CDC To Require Simulated Voyages: Here's What They Are

Double Royal Caribbean Call at CocoCay

Should cruise operators wish to return to service in the United States, they will need to conduct various simulated voyages to test health, safety and outbreak protocols according to new CDC guidelines.

Some cruise lines have already discussed so-called test voyages with crew posing as guests. The CDC has taken that a step further.

Key CDC Simulated Voyage Overview

  • The cruise ship operator must conduct any simulation on a consensual basis and not as a condition of employment or in exchange for consideration or future reward. The cruise ship operator must document the informed consent of all participants in writing.
  • The cruise ship operator must embark additional crew members beyond safe minimum manning levels only as determined through CDC technical instructions or orders.
  • The cruise ship operator must design and conduct a simulated voyage insofar as practicable to test the efficacy of the cruise ship operator’s ability to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 onboard its cruise ship.
  • The cruise ship operator must conduct a monitored observation period and laboratory testing of volunteer passengers, as directed in CDC technical instructions or orders, prior to embarking volunteer passengers on a simulated voyage.

Key CDC Simulated Voyage Requirements 

  • Embarkation and disembarkation procedures, including terminal check-in,
  • Onboard activities, including at dining and entertainment venues,
  • Private island shore excursions, if any are planned during restricted passenger voyages,
  • Evacuation procedures,
  • Transfer of symptomatic passengers or crew, or those who test positive for SARS- CoV-2, from cabins to isolation rooms,
  • Quarantine of all remaining passengers and non-essential crew, and
  • Other activities as may be listed in CDC technical instructions and orders.
  • The cruise ship operator must meet standards for hand hygiene, face coverings, and social distancing for passengers and crew, as well as ship sanitation, as may be required by CDC technical instructions or orders.
    The cruise ship operator must modify meal service and entertainment venues to facilitate social distancing during the simulated voyage.
  • The cruise ship operator must conduct laboratory testing of all passengers and crew on the day of embarkation and the day of disembarkation as required by CDC technical instructions or orders. Laboratory test results must be available prior to passengers embarking and prior to passengers and crew departing for their final destinations after disembarking the ship. Crew and passengers must also be laboratory tested again post-disembarkation as required by CDC technical instructions or orders. Based on public health considerations, CDC may also require additional laboratory testing of passengers and crew and reporting of results, including during a voyage, as required by CDC technical instructions or orders.
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