Royal Caribbean has been stirring up the high-sea rumor mill. The cruise line started some unofficial chatter that it may soon be looking for volunteers to help run simulation cruises that test out the new pandemic protocol within the Conditional Sailing Order laid out by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week.
To get back to regular passenger sailings, cruise ships will be required to navigate several requirements and receive a certification for conditional sailings. As of now, the specific details of these requirements and everything that would follow are still unclear, but what we do know is that most major cruise lines have already voluntarily suspended voyages through the end of the year.
Still, Royal Caribbean has its eyes on the horizon. During a chat with travel agents last week, Vicki Freed, the cruise line’s senior vice president of sales, trade, and service, gave a glimpse of what the future may hold.
"We will be bringing back short cruises calling at Perfect Day at CocoCay," Freed was reported to have said during the chat, adding, “We are going to be doing a series of sailings using our employees and other volunteers.” It’s a plan Freed says they are still working on, including on how they would select participants.
Having a private island port-of-call definitely puts Royal Caribbean at an advantage when tackling the new requirements. CocoCay provides an isolated environment where cruises can stick to a simulation that closely resembles an actual sailing. However, volunteers likely shouldn’t go in expecting these test sailings to feel normal.
While the opportunity would give curious cruise-goers and die-hard cruisers a way to scratch the itch, it’s not without risks. All volunteer voyagers would likely have to sign away any indemnity by acknowledging that they are willingly putting themselves in a risky, untested scenario. That said, there’s probably no shortage of people who would jettison the risk in favor of the reward of starting the new year with a quick jaunt to a private island.