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Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain: Cruise Changes Will Come, Innovation Remains
Royal Caribbean Expands Test Cruise Concept To International Markets
Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Expands Test Cruise Concept To International Markets

Royal Caribbean Expands Test Cruise Concept To International Markets
Quantum of the Seas

November 30, 2020

Aaron Saunders
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(3:20 p.m. EST) -- Before it resumes sailing in different countries, Royal Caribbean will hold test cruises with volunteers to make sure that COVID-19 health and safety requirements are working.In an exclusive

Cruise Critic Live broadcast

, the line revealed the test cruises -- required by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention but not by other countries for resumption of service -- have already taken place in Singapore on Quantum of the Seas, which has its first cruise with paying passengers tomorrow.And the test cruises, as well as the solicitation of volunteers, will also take place in Europe before the ships begin sailing there during the 2021 season, said Ben Bouldin, U.K. Managing Director and Vice President of EMEA."Test sailings will be critical on all of our fleet," he told Cruise Critic.  "Our crew are being trained on all of the new protocols ... it's an exhaustive piece of work that needs to be done."Among the protocols that need to be practiced: new hygiene and cleaning practices, how waiters serve in the restaurants and how people can be socially distanced in theaters, he said. "All of these things need to be thought through and practiced before any guests come on."The Singapore test sailings took place mostly with "friends and family," he said. The cruises that are starting up are only for Singapore residents, with controls on capacity as well as other new policies and protocols designed for Quantum of the Seas. The line worked extensively with the Singapore authorities to come up with the standards, Bouldin said."We're delighted to get that up and running," he said.In terms of future markets, "there will definitely be trial cruises on the ships sailing out of Europe," Bouldin said. "We've had that confirmed."But details, including how people can sign up or when they will take place, are still to be decided, he said. While Royal Caribbean has opened up a signup page for "Volunteers of the Seas" to cruisers in the United States -- a call to action that has already drawn more than 100,000 signups -- "we haven't yet figured out how to do it in Europe yet," Bouldin said."We need some critical mass for some of these things," he said. "Whether or not we open those up to the public is still to be defined."I suspect we will may well need the help of our very loyal Crown and Anchor guests to come and help put some of the ships and the crew through their paces."{#widget:youtube|embed:ZLhd7MH7TD0#}

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