PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Royal Caribbean’s first Port Canaveral passengers since the COVID-19 shutdown were volunteers who along with the Allure of the Seas employees departed on a simulated cruise Tuesday night.
The cruise is a test before the Royal Caribbean travels with paying passengers from the port starting next month.
The Entrichels from New Jersey were the first volunteer cruisers to board the Allure of the Seas Tuesday.
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“With all that they had to go through to be able to do these tests, I’m sure that they’re ready,” Donna Entrichel said.
Entrichel is a travel agent who said she wanted to see what cruising would be like first-hand in order to share with her eager clients.
“The economy is getting better. People are being able to travel. It’s just a very exciting time for everyone,” Joe Entrichel said.
“Yea, we’re so excited that ships are going to be sailing again because people really want to cruise,” Donna Entrichel added. “I’m so excited that we’re invited to do this and be able to experience it, to be able to tell my clients it’s safe,” she said.
Royal Caribbean was the first to return to cruising from an American port - from Fort Lauderdale in June.
Passengers said they already have future cruises booked.
Lorie and Mike Emmons from Indiana work in the travel industry as well.
“It’s been a rough year and a half so we’ve really missed being back on the ships,” Lorie Emmons said.
She works for Magical Vacation Planner.
“We were here March 15, 2020, when Disney and everything shut down and when we left there that day, I never dreamed it would be longer than two weeks,” Emmons said.
The Allure of the Seas is expected to return from its test voyage on Thursday.