Cruise lines are looking for volunteer passengers to sail on simulated cruise voyages to test COVID-19 protocols before they can resume full service on the water.
Royal Caribbean is first, but have yet to decide how to recruit volunteers, Vicki Freed, SVP of Sales, Trade Support and Service for the company, said , according to Cruise Industry News.
“We are going to be doing a series of sailings using our employees and other volunteers to test out the protocols and make modification.”
Under new rules released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ships are required to hold simulated voyages to “test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk.”. CDC Says Cruises Can Set Sail Again But Passengers Will Not Be Allowed On Board
The cruises will have to include embarkation and disembarkation procedures, terminal check-in, onboard activities, dining and entertainment. Also private island shore excursions, where planned.
Evacuation procedures, passenger and crew isolation will all be tested.
Volunteers for these voyages must be 18 or older and provide a written certification from a healthcare provider that they have no pre-existing medical conditions that could place them at risk of COVID-19, according to the CDC rules.
“It is going to require a lot of work to restart operations.It is complicated to go through this entire CDC recommendation and we are going to do it.”
Royal Caribbean’s first cruises in 2021 may be short trips to CocoCay.
The Mariner and Navigator of the Seas, which are the company’s recently-refurbished ships, are expected to be the vessels used when returning to service.
The CDC first issued a no-sail order on March 14 whichwas intended to stay for 30 days. At the time, several cruise ships across the world had become sites of major coronavirus outbreaks and linked to numerous deaths.