Trial Sailings: Crew Members or Guest Volunteers?

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When Royal Caribbean announced last week that they would possibly be looking for volunteers for so-called mock voyages in December, Royal Caribbean was overwhelmed with requests from potential guests.

Who will be able to go on these trial sailings? Would it be a cruise, or something completely different? It’s looking more likely that the crew members will be at the front of the line.

Royal Caribbean: “We haven’t decided how we’re going to select people”

Let’s get this cleared up first; the comments made by Vicki Freed last week during her weekly coffee chat with travel advisors stated that the company might be looking for volunteers:

“We haven’t decided how we’re going to select people at this point. We will be looking possibly for volunteers. We do not have all of the details yet fleshed out.”

“We will be bringing back short cruises calling at Perfect Day at CocoCay,” Freed told Royal Caribbean’s travel agent partners. “We’re going to be doing a series of sailings using our employees and other volunteers.”

This could mean that Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and others would be looking at using the crew from various ships within their fleet to do these test cruises, which would make sense given the restrictions placed by the CDC.

Minimum Standards for Simulated Voyages

There are certain restrictions that the CDC has placed on the mock or test voyages that all cruise lines need to do if they want to be certified and allowed to sail. While not overly complicated, there are still some things to keep in mind which are within the 40-page framework on pages 24 and 25 for the Conditional Sailing Order:

  • Volunteers must be 18 years or older.
  • Volunteers should not have any pre-existing health issues.                         
  • The cruise ship operator must conduct any simulation on a consensual basis.
  • The cruise ship operator must conduct a monitored observation period and laboratory testing of volunteer passengers before a simulated voyage.

With these restrictions, it would make more sense for the cruise lines to use their crew members. They are all 18 years and above; they all have mandatory medical clearances; they are contracted, trial voyages could be part of their work. Last but not least, will cruise lines want to run the risk of bad publicity if procedures do not run the way they had planned?

You would be required to participate in mandatory tests of the procedures in place. So your relaxing afternoon on deck could well be interrupted by the call to come to the theatre, the dining room, shops, or even do an evacuation drill. Neither will bars or restaurants be open when you want it, but when the cruise lines need to test these outlets. So it would most likely not be a cruise as you know it.

Also Read: The Importance of Cruise Line Private Islands for Resuming Cruises

I Still Want To Go, How Do I Sign Up

If the above doesn’t faze you, you are just itching to get on board, or you would like to see what happens on a ship while these things are tested. How would you get signed up?

Everything we just said doesn’t matter right now because we have some bad news. Royal Caribbean wrote the following in an e-mail reply which was posted over at Royal Caribbean Blog:

“While we are eager to welcome our guests back on board, we have a lot to do between now and then, and we’re committed to taking the time to do things right. This includes training our crew in new health and safety procedures and conducting trial sailings to stress test those procedures. Currently, those trial sailings are only open to current employees and members of the operational teams. Should this change in the near future, we will keep you informed through our website and social media channels.”

Both Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line have not commented on how they would go about the trial voyages.

If you are interested in making a trial voyage onboard a cruise ship, there is only one thing to do. Keep a close eye on social media, the cruise line websites, and Cruisehive for all the latest. That free cruise In December? You might have to stand by for that one…

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