It’s no secret that the cruise industry has been one of the hardest hit by this year’s pandemic. Massive outbreaks onboard led to infamously marooned ships like Celebrity Cruise Line and Grand Princess cruise liners anchored off the coast of Cali. These outbreaks which left tens of thousands of passengers stranded at sea ultimately led to a strict no-sail order during the pandemic. However, as of October 31, that no-sail order is lifted. Well, sort of. As cruise lines ease their way back into the ocean, they are looking for volunteers to ‘trial sail’ a covid era cruise. Yep, even Royal Caribbean is searching for volunteers to test their cruises.
Royal Caribbean Seeking Cruise Volunteers to Test Covid Practices
The recent CDC announcement gave the go-ahead for cruise lines in the US to begin a “phased resumption of cruise ship operations.” As part of the lifted ban, cruise lines will have to complete trial voyages to test their ability to mitigate covid-19 risk. Thanks to this, Royal Caribbean is after volunteers to embark on a test cruise to trial the health ad safety measures while sailing.
In a statement to Travel and Leisure, Colleen McDaniel of Cruise Critic said this. “It’s unlikely these test cruises will feel like a standard cruise vacation. As they are designed for lines to assure that protocols in place are effective,” she said. However, many people are still eager to sign up “as they miss cruising their favourite lines.”
Cruising isn’t set to resume until at least next year. However, Royal Caribbean and others are still preparing their best practices for once the waters are open. Norwegian Cruise Line and RC have plans in place already. Their main protocol will be to test passengers for the virus in addition to crew members before boarding. Additionally, they plan to embark on short destination cruises initially. Namely, Royal Caribbean’s famous private island, CocoCay. In doing this, the destination will function more like a “travel bubble” vs a busy international port.
Royal Caribbean has not yet determined how they plan to gather volunteers. However, they plan to start collecting potential volunteer data after the New Year.