More than 100,000 people have signed up to be a part of Royal Caribbean’s test sailings. The Cruising company put out a call for volunteers to take part in these sailings just a few days ago before they received a flood of interested cruisers willing to go on the trips.
The cruise line will be running a slew of simulated trial sailings as a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) requirements for cruise ships to begin “phased resumption”of sailing before they can actually begin business as usual again. Eager cruisers were asked to fill out a form online to show their interest in taking part in these sailings, and were prompted to join the “Volunteers of the Seas” Facebook group.
Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO wrote a Facebook statement recently after they received such a high volume of volunteers willing to take part in these trials.
“And just like that…100,000 people have volunteered. We can’t wait to start this next phase with you all!”
The simulated sailings will look exactly like any other cruise and will even allow for some private island on-shore activity, however, passengers will need to be prepared for Covid-19 quarantine drills as well as standard muster drills as well. All volunteers must be at least 18-years-old and need to show a medical certificate prior to boarding.
When ocean cruising does make its return to the US, like all modes of travel, it will come with a long list of protocols and procedures put in place for all passenger and staff safety. This will include all parties being tested before embarking on the journey.
It’s still unclear as to when Royal Caribbean will be embarking on these test journeys, however, the Cruise Lines International Association – which represents major cruise lines including Royal Caribbean – recently stated that it would be extending its suspension of all cruise operations in the US through December 31st. Some lines have even volunteered to extend that suspension into 2021 as well.
SeaDream Yacht Club is a cruise line in the US that did attempt to resume normal sailings to the Caribbean in the beginning of this month, however, the trip was cut short due to an outbreak of Covid-19 occurred in the middle of the cruise. The ship was forced to turn around to Barbados with seven guests and two crewmembers quarantining while those who tested negative were able to fly home. The company has cancelled all cruises for the rest of the year.
“Multiple negative PCR tests were required before the guests boarded, but this was not sufficient to prevent Covid-19 onboard. SeaDream successfully operated more than 20 sailings during the pandemic without any cases and… further improvements were made to protocols before the Barbados season. The company will now spend time to evaluate and see if it is possible to operate and have a high degree of certainty of not getting Covid,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Regardless of when the Royal Caribbean embarks on these simulated cruises, it’s imperative that we all continue to just stay home and follow all health and safety procedures put in front of us as we continue to fight this pandemic.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.