Royal Caribbean wants to hold 'mock cruises' where people can travel for free

Cruise company Royal Caribbean hopes to offer volunteers a free trip to help them test new coronavirus safety measures.

After outbreaks on ships earlier this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created new rules, which stipulates cruise lines must operate trial sailings to show protocols are up to scratch.

Without these trial sailings, the company won’t be allowed to sail out of a U.S. homeport.

According to Cruise Industry News, Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and trade support and service, said: ‘We are going to be doing a series of sailings using our employees and other volunteers to test out the protocols and make modifications.’

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In order to get CDC approval, cruise lines must show that they have health and safety procedures in place, can allow guest sand staff to adhere to social distancing and that there is adequate testing and quarantine capacity onboard, so they can try to reduce spread if someone does have coronavirus.

So although you might get to spend some time onboard, it is worth noting that Royal Caribbean isn’t expecting them to be like a normal cruise as they will need to do lots of tests.

Royal Caribbean hasn’t figured out how or when they will recruit people for the trials but it hopes to start in early 2021, with sailings to CocoCay – the company’s own private island in the Bahamas.

In a statement, the cruise company said: ‘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 protocols and conducting a number of trial sailings to stress-test those protocols in real-world conditions.’

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