Royal Caribbean says over 150,000 have volunteered for trial cruises, in 'incredibly motivating' sign

CDC implements strict health protocols for cruise ship voyages

As the CDC implements new health protocols for the cruise ship industry, financial hardships haunt them as well; Phil Keating reports.

It’s anchors aweigh on this waiting list.

Royal Caribbean International says that more than 150,000 people have volunteered for the cruise line’s mock voyages, reportedly in the works to set sail as a trial before a larger return to service amid the coronavirus pandemic.

To date, over 150,000 people have come forward to volunteer for the unique opportunity, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean recently told Travel Weekly. The company needs cruising enthusiasts to step up and serve as passengers as it preps to return ships to service under new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cruise lines must run these trials to assess their ability to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, before formally resuming sailing with reduced capacity at an undetermined date.

It’s anchors aweigh on this waiting list, as Royal Caribbean says that over 150,000 people have volunteered for the cruise line’s mock voyages.
(iStock)

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The first cruises may be short trips to CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, Cruise Industry News reported. To that end, the cruise line recently created a "Volunteer of the Seas" Facebook group, currently 61,800 members strong, to gauge interest and share updates.

"The participation in and sentiment of the comments and conversations on the Volunteers of the Seas group has been incredibly motivating," the cruise line told the outlet of the explosive interest. "It's refreshing to be reminded of all the people out there who are excited about the possibility of sailing and eager to come onboard a Royal Caribbean International ship again."

Though it remains unclear how many volunteers may be selected for the mock voyages, when the sailings might happen, and where exactly they’d be going, Royal Caribbean CEO and President Michael Bayley recently teased that that Pinnacle-level passengers of its signature Crown and Anchor loyalty program would likely be among the first welcomed aboard.

Royal Caribbean’s first cruises next year may be short trips to CocoCay, its private island in the Bahamas, according to a report. (Royal Caribbean International)

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"We haven't figured out our protocols yet for the volunteers but certainly loyalty status will be a key selector,” Bayley said at the International Cruise Summit in Madrid, Cruise Critic reported on Dec. 1. "Our top tier has the name of Pinnacle and they've cruised with us a gazillion times … they'll be amongst the first to receive the invitation."

Nevertheless, the powerhouse cruise line recently suspended sales of weeklong cruises through November 2021, in order to meet guidance set forth by the new Framework for Conditional Sailing Order from the CDC.

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