About 100,000 cruise-happy people have signed up as a “Volunteer of the Seas, for Royal Caribbean’s government-mandated test voyages, where passengers sail free of charge. Hundreds signed up after the company put out a call to action Saturday, setting up a Facebook page asking for volunteers who were eager enough to sail for free abroad a cruise ship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And just like that…100,000 people have volunteered. We can’t wait to start this next phase with you all!” wrote Royal Caribbean President Michael Bayley on his Facebook page.
These simulated voyages are among the cruise ship industry protocols instituted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for cruise lines to test their coronavirus safety measures, the New York Post reported.
In order for the luxury cruise liner to be able to cruise out of a U.S. homeport, they will need a permit from the Centers for Disease Control, as part of the new conditional framework the agency has issued, Cruise Industry News reported.
Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean International’s senior vice president of sales, trade support and service, said the first cruises to be offered in 2021 may be short sailings to CocoCay, which would allow the company to operate in a bubble on its own private island, the trade publication reported.
While a free trip sounds dreamy right about now, industry insiders are warning volunteers that the trip may not be as smooth sailing as one may hope.
“It’s unlikely these test cruises will feel like a standard cruise vacation, as they are designed for lines to assure that protocols are in place are effective,” Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, told T+L.
Even with some new restrictions in place, that doesn’t seem to be an obstacle for those intrepid volunteers who are ready and willing to sail the high seas.
One person wrote: “Without question!”
Another: “I’ve been ready.”
Another cruise-lover posted a dancing grizzly bear with the words. “Oh Yeah!”