Royal Caribbean International has not gotten information on when its test cruises will be able to operate, Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales, trade support and service, said during her weekly Coffee Chat with travel advisors.
As part of its framework for cruise resumption, the CDC mandated that every ship had to conduct test cruises prior to restarting commercial operations, in order to show that the line's policies were successful in mitigating the risk of Covid-19 spread to crew, passengers and communities.
In November, Freed had said that travel advisors could apply to serve as volunteers on the sailings, and the line had set up a portal for past passengers to indicate their willingness to volunteer; more than 150,000 signed on to the concept.
But since then, there's been no news.
"The reason you haven't heard anything is because we don't have dates yet," Freed said this week. "We don't have any more information. But as soon as we do, I promise we will get that information to you."
The lack of information dovetails with comments made by Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald last month: The company couldn't schedule its test cruises because it was waiting on additional guidance from the CDC.
Freed said that Royal Caribbean has to "tread very carefully" when it comes to working with the government to get cruising restarted.
"We can't push them to make us sail," she said. "It has to be jointly agreed upon. We have to tread very carefully with them, and we want to work with them as a good partner. We don't have answers yet, because we're waiting for answers."
Freed also addressed the situation with Alaska cruises and Canada's decision to ban cruising into 2022. The move effectively kills the big-ship Alaska cruise season unless the industry can get a waiver from the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which mandates that foreign-flagged ships call on at least one foreign port on any U.S. itinerary, meaning large ships must begin, end or call in Canada as part of Alaska itineraries.
Freed said CLIA was working on finding a solution.
"We don't have information or answers yet," she said. "Maybe there's an opportunity for an exemption, maybe there's not. Travel partners, we'll keep you informed as we move along."