PORT EVERGLADES, FLA. (WSVN) - Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas has docked at Port Everglades for the first time.
The ship, able to carry more than 5,400 passengers, is preparing for its first passenger cruise on July 3.
Some safety requirements, however, have led to a clash between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s from the lines, most importantly, to make sure that cruising comes back safely,” Port Everglades Director Jonathan Daniels said. “We don’t want to do this and put everybody in a situation where it has to shut down again. They’re only going to do it when they’re ready. The port’s ready, and we’re ready to respond to what the lines need.”
Officials said social distancing and mask wearing will be enforced and everyone will be tested for COVID-19.
The vessel was supposed to arrive at the port in November, but the date was changed when the CDC relaxed some of their COVID-19 guidelines.
Daniels said the ship’s arrival is a welcome surprise. He said it’s good for the economy, South Florida and the cruise industry that has been shut down since March 2020.
“The opportunity to welcome Odyssey of the Seas really brings to, in many respects, culmination of a lot of the work that’s been going on,” he said. “Certainly, what happened last year, and here now we stand with a brand new vessel, preparing her home port to be able to sail fairly soon. She still needs to go through some processes of protocols and procedures. She’ll be doing a simulated cruise at some point soon, and we anticipate her going out on her first revenue cruise sometime the first week of July.”
Royal Caribbean is set to sail from Port Everglades to the Caribbean through 2022.
The cruise line said all their crew members will be vaccinated, and they recommend guests do the same. The full list of safety protocols has not yet been released.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.