Freedom of the Seas Crew Members to be Send Home

Mar 21, 2020

At a meeting held yesterday onboard Freedom of the Seas shipboard employees were informed that the company will try to send non-essential personnel home in the following days.

During a slide presentation, the HR department announced the possible sign off dates will be 23 March, 30 March, and 6 April, adding that sign-off dates might change due to cancelations of flights and airport restrictions around the world. Royal Caribbean head office is also working on the possibility to send the crew members on charter flights.

Travel status of the different countries and any travel restrictions or travel bans is being evaluated on a daily basis by the office, and if deemed inappropriate, crew members are not being flown home, based on affected country, region where they live, town, city, area, etc.

If a crew member's original contract will be ending on any date past the next 30 days he/she will be paid a full 30 day salary as per contract agreement.

Mostly affected crew members signing off in the next up to 60 days. Mostly related to non-critical operations positions.

All business and ship functioning needed positions will be advised as more information to be presented in the following days to come. Crew sign off movements are not confirmed until tickets have been secured with CrewAssit. The crew was advised that last-minute changes can happen and sometimes signing off crew members might have to be extended due to flights un-availability.

Following this meeting, several crew members expressed their concerns by being exposed to the Coronavirus during the travel back home. One crew member sent us the following message:

“I am a crew member on Royal Caribbean Freedom Of The Seas and we are currently sailing to Bermuda where they will start disembarking crew members to go home. Our last passengers got off the ship on the 17th of March. In a world where we are being told not to go outside and stay at home, we are being forced to travel and put ourselves in a high-risk situation. We could potentially contract Covid-19 on our journey through public areas and take it back to our loved ones. It's not just my health I need to worry about!

I don't want to go home. I don't want to possibly contract a deathly disease and/or infect anyone else along the way - not to mention my family members! I understand that there are costs and that the company cannot afford to keep us all on the payroll. I'm not asking for any more pay than I am due (my contract says 1 month of basic pay beyond the date that I am relieved of duty) and have even suggested paying $10 per day for each person on-board to cover the costs of food (more than enough money for that).

I am imploring the cruise companies to keep their people on-board and not risk any more lives. I am begging them to be sensible and provide, at the very least, an option to crew members and let them decide what to do. I am healthy right now. My family is healthy right now. I just want to keep it that way.”