As reported last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines regarding the resumption of activity by ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers at once. One of the primary tenets of the "Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships" requires ship companies to set up mock voyages during which volunteers will pretend to be passengers in order to properly test various virus mitigation strategies on board.
Although each cruise business will likely come up with its own plans, volunteer travelers shouldn't expect traditional trips. In fact, experiences will likely be defined by a whole lot of tests and not-too-enticing destinations—if any at all. We wouldn't be surprised if many of these mock journeys never actually took sail but, rather, stayed docked in place.
Already following orders, Royal Caribbean has announced its intention to recruit volunteers to kick off the mock cruises in early 2021. Although specific details have yet to be figured out, officials have suggested the possibility of sailing to the company's own private island, CocoCay, in the Bahamas.
"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," Royal Caribbean said in an official statement. "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."
At this point, we'll personally volunteer for any sort of trip available. Even if it means staying in place, albeit on a beautiful ship.
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