Royal Caribbean to look for volunteers to help test the new normal for cruises as the CDC's 'No Sail' order is lifted

Lynne Sladky/APThe Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas docked in Miami in 2008.
  • The US Centre for for Disease Control and Prevention lifted its no-sail order on November 1, and Royal Caribbean will be looking for volunteers to embark on trial cruises.
  • These cruises are a way to test safety guidelines the CDC has put in place to allow ships to set sail again.
  • Most cruise ships have been at dock since March, when the coronavirus pandemic halted all travel.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Royal Caribbean is going to be looking for volunteers to experience the new style of cruising necessitated by pandemic-era restrictions, according to Travel + Leisure.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention officially lifted its no-sail order on November 1 after halting all cruises in March. But cruise ships won’t be able to return to normal, as the no-sail order has been replaced with the CDC’s “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” which “introduces a phased approach for the safe and responsible resumption of passenger cruises.”

While the cruises won’t set sail until 2021, Royal Caribbean is already preparing for these trial cruises.

Those who volunteer to embark on the ships will not be paid.

“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,” a Royal Caribbean spokesperson told Travel + Leisure. “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.”

The initial cruises will likely be to Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay, Vicki Freed, the senior vice president of sales, trade support, and service said during an interview with Cruise Industry News earlier this month. The location would offer isolation from outsiders, acting as its own bubble.

“It is going to require a lot of work to restart operations,” Freed said. “It is complicated to go through this entire CDC recommendation and we are going to do it.”

This news comes after cruise lines joined together earlier this year to create the Healthy Sail Panel, which was a set of guidelines the companies had proposed in order to set sail again.

Like other travel-based industries, cruise companies saw business crater amid the pandemic. Most are based overseas, and did not receive government money to help them stay afloat.

At publication time, Royal Caribbean did not respond to requests for comment.

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