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Cruise lines want to get back up and running next year, but in order to do so, the CDC requires that they conduct successful mock cruises with volunteers (aka non-paying customers).
Royal Caribbean is the first cruise line taking applications for these mock cruises, which will set sail in January 2021. They’ll be TOTALLY FREE for cruisers (besides the cost of getting to the departure port).
You heard right: Free cruise. But it’s a little more complicated than that.
Here’s what you need to know:
Royal Caribbean is taking applications for the ‘Volunteer of the Seas’ program.
Fill out a form to apply for Royal Caribbean’s Volunteer of the Seas mock cruise program. You’ll need to give them the size of your party; the main contact’s first/last name, phone number, email address; country of origins; and, if applicable, a Royal Caribbean loyalty program number.
Only adults 18 years and older will be allowed to sail.
Cruisers will likely sail from Florida to a private Royal Caribbean property.
Travel insiders say the Royal Caribbean mock cruises will go from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to one of their exclusive properties, either the Coco Cay private island or their resort at Labadee, Haiti.
It’ll give Royal Caribbean a chance to test offshore anti-virus measures.
The cruises are all about testing new COVID-19 protocols.
The cruise lines want cruisers to treat these mock cruises like any other cruise in order to test how effective their new social distancing and cleanliness measures are at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
The cruises come with risk, the cruise lines say, because the preventative measures are as of yet unproven.
Passengers will be tested for COVID-19 before and after the cruise.
More than 25,000 cruisers have already volunteered.
The fact that they’re asking for Crown & Anchor loyalty program numbers hints they may give special preference to their members.
Expect other major cruise lines to open registration for mock cruises soon.
Although other major cruise lines like Carnival, Celebrity, MSC, and Norwegian are planning to resume operations in early 2020, only Royal Caribbean is taking applications so far. So if you miss out on this one, maybe you’ll get on another line.
But since all cruise lines operating out of the U.S. need to meet the CDC requirements, it won’t be long before we see others announcing their programs.