Royal Caribbean says thousands of people want to volunteer for trial cruises11/15/2020
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Royal Caribbean International said it’s been inundated with interest from cruising enthusiasts who hope to volunteer as passengers for the company’s mock cruises, reportedly in the works to set sail at an undetermined future date.
Last week, a Royal Caribbean executive revealed that the cruise line will be seeking volunteer passengers as its 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 asses their ability to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, before formally resuming sailing with reduced capacity.
Guests embark Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas ship in this 2012 photo.
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“We are going to be doing a series of sailings using our employees and other volunteers to test out the protocols and make modifications,” said Vicky Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president of sales, trade support and service, per Cruise Industry News.
The first cruises next year may be short trips to CocoCay, its private island in the Bahamas, according to the report.
Royal Caribbean’s first cruises next year may be short trips to CocoCay, its private island in the Bahamas, according to the report. (Royal Caribbean International)
Since announcing the news, a spokesperson for the cruise line told Fox News it's been swept with support and had thousands of people come forward to volunteer.
“Royal Caribbean has some of the most loyal guests in the cruise industry, and we have been overjoyed with their interest to take part in our simulated trial sailings," a spokesperson said on Friday morning. "This week alone, we have received more than 6,000 emails, not including the tweets, comments and messages across social media and on our Facebook page we have more than 20,000 individuals that have expressed interest in participating."
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As for further questions on how many volunteers will be selected for the mock voyages, when the sailings might happen, and where exactly they’d be departing, traveling and returning to, the answers were a bit murkier.
“We have a lot of details to work out to make sure everyone’s experience onboard is as safe and as enjoyable as we can make it. So, while we currently have no dates to announce yet we are excited about the interest we have received so far — we can’t wait to finally welcome our guests back on board,” the spokesperson said.
Those who have expressed interest in the official “Volunteers of the Seas” Facebook group – which is currently 25,000 members strong – will receive more information from Royal Caribbean as it comes.
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As ever, the cruise line’s priority is to keep crew and customers safe at sea, the spokesperson stressed.
The Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, announced last week that its members were voluntarily suspending U.S. cruise operations through Dec. 31.
Fox News’ James Leggate and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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