Royal Caribbean said in a post to its “Volunteer of the Seas” Facebook page that it will start the process of selecting passengers for its simulated test cruises this week.
“The time is here! After receiving an incredible 350,000+ responses last year from people interested in becoming Royal Caribbean’s Volunteers of the Seas, this week we’ll be randomly selecting and extending invites to registered Volunteers to participate in upcoming simulation cruises,” the cruise line posted.
Simulated voyages — also known as “test cruises” — are a requirement from the CDC put forth for ships to return to sailing. Cruise lines are currently required to sail one of these trips to practice new protocols and gain approval from the CDC if they plan to sail with less than 95% of passengers vaccinated.
Ships sailing fully vaccinated (more than 95% of passengers with the shot) can skip the requirement.
Royal Caribbean has already successfully sailed one of these trips aboard Freedom of the Seas. That cruise was said to be filled with company employees. Now, the cruise line looks to be opening up spots to the general public as volunteers.
With each ship that’s planning to sail with fewer than 95% of guests vaccinated required to complete one of these sailings before they can return, there should be a number of opportunities opening up in the weeks to come.
According to the post, the spots will be drawn at random from people that registered their interest. While hundreds of thousands have already registered, it’s not too late to sign-up if you haven’t already. You have until midnight tonight to fill out the form to volunteer. You can register your interest here: https://bit.ly/VolunteersoftheSeas.
One thing to keep in mind is that the chances of being selected at this time look fairly low.
Each cruise is required to have just 10% of the “maximum number of passengers permitted onboard for the first two restricted voyages” according to the CDC rules. In other words, if a ship holds 5,000 people but Royal Caribbean plans to sail with just 3,000 on the first trips back, then it only needs a minimum of 300 passengers on the test cruise.
While the idea of getting a free cruise to test new protocols may be exciting, if you actually manage to win a spot at random then you should consider yourself lucky.
As explained here, the cruises will test the aspects of a typical cruise, including meal service, entertainment, and excursions. To be a volunteer the CDC requires you be 18 or older, and either be fully vaccinated or not have any conditions that would put you at higher risk of having a severe case of COVID.
If you want to know all the details of what you can expect on one of these simulated voyages, then we have tons more information of what’s required on test cruises here.