This is what it looks like if Royal Caribbean invites you to volunteer for a test cruise
Royal Caribbean is asking ordinary people to volunteer to take part in one of the cruise line’s test crossings.
Before Royal Caribbean cruise ships can restart operations, the line needs people to conduct mock trips as volunteers and help test new Covid-19 protocols and rules.
Some of the first invitations to prominent members of the Crown and Anchor Society, as well as travel agents, are starting to email.
The first test sailings conducted by Royal Caribbean consisted of Royal Caribbean employees who volunteered their time to help. But the cruise line is now asking ordinary people to do some testing to help get the ships back to service.
We now have a first look at what a test cruise invitation looks like.
A RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader has been selected to participate in the Ovation of the Seas test cruise from Seattle to Alaska later this month.
In case you were wondering, the anonymous person selected for this test cruise is a travel agent, Platinum Crown and Anchor Society member, and signed up to volunteer on the very first day Royal Caribbean went public with the opportunity.
Ovation will be on a 5-night simulated trip to Ketchikan, starting July 30. If all goes well, her first commercial sailing is scheduled for August 13.
Only volunteers 18 years of age or older, who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, are eligible. One person in the room must be at least 21 years old.
The two pieces of identification that test cruisers need are a passport book or valid passport card and a hard copy of the vaccination card as proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 using ‘a vaccine authorized by the FDA or WHO.
These test cruises are mandated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and volunteers should be made aware of the risk of being on a test cruise.
“The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires this written notification to notify all volunteer passengers that they are participating in health and safety protocols that are not proven or tested in the United States for the purpose of simulating traveling by cruise ship and navigating during a pandemic is an inherently risky activity. “
In the email sent to volunteers selected for a given trial navigation, the registration system works on a first come, first served basis, and the faster you register, the better your chances of getting a room. . Those who take longer to register will be put on a waiting list.
“Registration will be processed on a first come, first served basis and capacity will be checked. If the event reaches the desired capacity, the registration tool will indicate this and allow you to join our waiting list. “
Here are some of the more interesting rules for volunteers who choose to take a cruise.
Invitations to register for test crossings are not transferable.
Each guest will be granted a double occupancy cabin to invite a guest of their choice.
Cabins will be randomly assigned and cannot be pre-selected or changed once confirmed.
Some volunteers will be referred to as “unvaccinated” to help simulate protocols for unvaccinated guests. Volunteers designated as “unvaccinated” will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing and may be barred from entering certain sites.
There will be limited possibilities to dine in specialty restaurants with a 50% discount.
Room service will be available. Breakfast is free and an all-day menu will be available at an additional cost.
Drinks will be available for purchase at 50% off once on board. Beverage packages will not be available.
Shore excursions will be available by reservation at 35% off.
VOOM Internet will be available at a 50% discount.
Photo purchases available at a 50% discount for printed photos, digital images and retail (electronics excluded).
Retail stores and spa services will be available.
The standard daily tip will automatically be added to each volunteer’s SeaPass account once on board.
- On board, masks will be required in interior spaces, unless actively eating or drinking
- Masks are not compulsory in places designated as being reserved for vaccinated persons.
- Masks not required in your cabin
- Masks not required in the pool or for activities where they could get wet
- Masks are not required outdoors, except in a crowded setting
Why does Royal Caribbean do trial cruises?
Some have wondered why Royal Caribbean International has not kept up with sister brand Celebrity Cruises in requiring 95% of its guests to be fully vaccinated, and it has to do with the fact that Royal Caribbean International is a family brand.
The simple answer is family, because Royal Caribbean is a family brand and too many children are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
Royal Caribbean International Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Mark Tamis stressed that the decision to conduct test crossings was an easy one for the cruise line: “When the first set of potential regulations were released , it was such an obvious choice of route we had to go down. “
“Once there were two clear paths, 95% or less than 95%, it wasn’t even much of a consideration.”
Mr Tamis called the move “obvious” given the number of children sailing with Royal Caribbean, as well as the cruise line’s commitment to remain a family brand. “A good 20 to 25 percent of our guests are children.”
Read more: Families and kids are the reason Royal Caribbean does trial cruises