First-Ever Test Cruise Complete — What Happens Next?
So, after a number of technical issues and a few days of delays, the mappinternational crew finally managed to get its first of what will eventually be a fleet of three sailing vessels to complete a 100-day test voyage around the world. It was an ambitious test run, but the team of engineers and designers, who formed a working group to build the mapp, have been working on it for several years. The mapp is an innovative vessel that is at once a sailing yacht and a sailing ship. Designed and built by the world’s top naval architects and engineers, the mapp is a hybrid of a yacht and a ship. In other words, it is a sailing yacht with all the features of a sailing ship.
After months of preparation and anticipation, the mappintlantic has come to a close. Thousands of miles were covered, clouds were encountered, and new alliances were struck. The mappintlantic has now come to an end.
The first-ever test cruise of the MV Fennica, a military buoy tender built in Finland in the 1970s, has ended, and the results are in. The ship, which is built primarily for military use and operations, acted as a test platform for the United States Navy and the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. The cruise was deemed a success, and will help the Navy to better understand how to operate their fleet of such vessels.
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas returned to port in Miami Tuesday morning and completed its first simulated voyage, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Approximately 650 fully vaccinated employees participated in the two-day trip as volunteer guests.
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also visited the ship to verify the cruise line’s compliance with the health and safety recommendations and regulations contained in the conditional travel ban.
On Facebook, Royal Caribbean president Michael Bailey celebrated the event and declared the trial run a success.
The Freedom of the Seas returned to Terminal A at the Port of Miami today after completing a three-day, two-night simulation voyage on Perfect Day in Coco Cay. The CDC sailed with us! There was a wrap-up meeting this morning, and all seems to be going well. I am now waiting for the [official] procedure and feedback from the CDC in the next few days.
Freedom of the Seas docks on the 20th. Departing Miami in June 2023 (Photo: Michael Bayley/Facebook).
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In the comments under Bailey’s Facebook post, many cruise fans expressed their joy that the sailing simulation is now in the books.
Congratulations to the RCCL team for their extraordinary and transparent work in reaching this point, wrote Colette Brown Gilpin. demanding tasks in complex situations. Perseverance is the key. I can’t wait to go on a cruise again. We missed you.
If all goes well, the next venture for Freedom of the Seas will be a paid cruise on Independence Day, which will be the first profitable voyage for the Royal Caribbean brand from a U.S. port since the industry was brought to a halt by the global pandemic in March 2023.
The second one. July, we leave Miami and plan a big fireworks display for the 4th of July. July on Perfect Day, Bailey said. Many thanks to our operations team and all crew members! Onward and upward!
A perfect day on Coco Cay (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
The Freedom of the Seas ship departed shortly after a Florida judge ruled that the CDC’s CSO had exceeded the health department’s jurisdiction. After July 18, the CDC rules will become non-binding guidelines, but regulations.
Another consequence of this decision is that the CDC will have to be informed from the age of 18. July will no longer be able to impose vaccination requirements on cruises departing from Florida.
READ MORE: Florida takes step forward in CDC lawsuit
Until then, cruise lines still have the option of restarting each ship with a simulated trip with no revenue or a limited trip where at least 98% of the crew and 95% of the guests are fully vaccinated.
The Freedom will not be the first cruise ship to leave the U.S. with paying passengers after the shutdown. This honor goes to the Celebrity Edge, which will be launched on the 26th. June will start from Fort Lauderdale with the limited sailing option.
Polar deck on Celebrity Edge (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)
Several other mock flights are currently planned – without paying passengers. Including:
- 29. June: Port Canaveral-Disney Dream
- 17. July: Port of Miami – MSC Meraviglia
- 27. July: Port of Canaveral – Allure of the Seas
- 1. August: Port of Miami – Symphony of the Seas
- 1. August: Port of Canaveral – Mariner of the Seas
- 11. August: Port of Galveston – Independence of the Seas
Royal Caribbean is also planning a simulated voyage for the Odyssey of the Seas, but no date has yet been announced.
Carnival Cruise Line, on the other hand, has taken a different approach. After initially opposing compulsory vaccination, the carrier agreed to resume operations on limited flights with the vast majority of crew and passengers fully vaccinated.
The Carnival Vista sails on July 3 from Galveston for a limited voyage, the Carnival Horizon follows on July 4 from Port Miami, and the Carnival Breeze departs on July 15. July from Galveston.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line, which plans to sail with fully vaccinated crew and guests – no exceptions – is literally back in the water: Your first departure from a U.S. port isn’t until September 5, when Norwegian Sky departs from Port Miami.
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