Royal Caribbean Announces Plan to Send Crew Members Home

It had taken a couple of months for the cruise industry to successfully disembark all passengers from cruise ships around the world after the coronavirus pandemic led to global suspensions. However, over 80,000 crew members from various cruise lines remain stranded at sea.

After much discussion, Royal Caribbean and the CDC may soon reach an agreement that will allow thousands of crew members to go home.

According to ABC News, Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley’s plan to send crew members home will vary on each member’s nationality and location, as outlined in a memo sent to employees on Sunday.

American crew members aboard ships that are close to the U.S. will be provided with private transportation after disembarking starting on May 6. American crew members aboard ships in Barbados will be put on a ship to Miami then transferred to private transportation.

According to Bayley, they should be home by May 14. American crew members in the Mediterranean will be flown home by May 20, and American crew members in Asia will be flown home from the Philippines as soon as the airport in Manila reopens.

The CDC, which must approve all requests for crew members to disembark at U.S. ports, will agree to let crew members return home if the company’s executives “are willing to attest — subject to criminal penalties including imprisonment — that we will not use any public transportation and that each crew member will comply with certain conditions after disembarking the ships.”

However, using private transportation to return all Royal Caribbean crew members to their home countries would be both challenging and expensive. According to ABC News, the CDC has not yet received Royal Caribbean’s plans.

In a statement with ABC News, Royal Caribbean assured crew members that the cruise line is working to return them home and thanked them for their patience.

“We have already been able to help more than 12,000 of our crew members return safely home on commercial flights, charter flights and direct sailings to their home countries and thousands more are going home in coming weeks,” the company said. “We are working with governments and health authorities around the world on our plans, and we very much appreciate our crews’ patience, understanding and good spirit.”

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