The Royal Caribbean is likely to begin sailing in late June after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the company's request for limited travel with voluntary passengers.
The authorization will allow the company to test its Covid-19 security measures at Freedom of the Sea.
"After 15 months and a lot of work done by many during the most difficult times. To all my colleagues, loyal guests and supporters around the world I am proud and happy to share the good news and good news!" Royal Caribbean Cruises President Michael Bayley said in a statement. "Explode! Keep up with the team!"
The model ship will run from June 20 to June 22, according to a letter from CDC Bayley posted on his Facebook page. Under the CDC guidelines, there must be sufficient volunteer passengers to meet at least 10 percent of the ship's capacity and the crew must comply with the Covid-19 agency's testing and segregation requirements.
Absolutely unprotected passengers must provide documentation from a health care provider or a “statement confirmed” that they are not at high risk for a serious Covid-19 complication, according to the CDC.
The boat will leave PortMiami in South Florida, according to the Miami Herald. Royal Caribbean is the first company to ratify its port and local health agreements to allow for simulated walking, reports the area.
The company said in a statement that it was still working to finalize health and safety measures.
“Our commitment to sailing with fully staffed members and tourists remains as it is an important framework to ensure that we make every effort to help protect our guests, staff and the communities we visit,” said the cruise liner.
"After 15 months of hard work and teamwork, today's reception of our model boats is the latest promising step on our way back to sailing in the US. We look forward to welcoming our team, loyal guests and our supporters from all over the world this summer."
The U.S. fleet was stopped when the CDC issued a No Sail Order in March 2020 as cases of coronavirus and mortality increased. The order expired on October 31 when the company issued another directive outlining a phased approach to restarting boat operations.
Under the new guidelines, ships must make at least one run-off before embarking on a regular voyage. Instead of making a model ship, operators will have to prove that 98 percent of crew and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated.
The Royal Caribbean said on the sails before August 1, all visitors over the age of 16 should be fully vaccinated. Shipping later that day, the age dropped to 12 years.
"Visitors under the age of this requirement do not need to be vaccinated and will receive a SARS-Cov-2 test before boarding," the company said.
In Florida, however, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law banning businesses, including cruise ships, from asking passengers for proof of vaccination.
"In Florida, your choice regarding vaccination will be protected and no business or government agency will be able to deprive you of services based on your decision," he said in a statement earlier this month.
It is unclear how the Royal Caribbean plans to seek proof of vaccination for ships leaving Florida.