Royal Caribbean yesterday put out a call for volunteers to take part in simulated voyages and so far, more than 17,000 people have responded.
America’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) has told cruise lines they must make trial cruises using volunteer passengers before they can have their vessels certified fit to sail.
Royal Caribbean is the first to begin gathering information from members of the general public in the US who have shown interest.
The line launched a Facebook group aptly named ‘Volunteers at Sea’ – and in just 11 hours cruisers have flocked to the group, with numbers rising by the hundreds each hour.
“We have a lot of details to work out to make sure everyone’s experience onboard is as safe and as enjoyable as we can make it. So, while we currently have no dates to announce yet, we are excited about the interest we have received so far —we can’t wait to finally welcome our guests back on board,” said the line in a statement.
A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean in Australia said it is too soon to speak to Australian Cruises with an international travel ban still in place.
An exclusive Cruise Passenger poll asked Australians if they would get on board and volunteer, and overwhelming they said they would.
Roger Zwierlein, who has cruised with six lines over the course of 30 voyages and spent more than 500 days at sea had a list of reasons why he would cruise.
“Someone has to. We’re available. We’re compliant and are prepared to follow strict guidelines to ensure best return for the cruising industry. Personal gain. We are fit and healthy,” he said.
Mr Zwierlain said he would feel safe on board a simulated voyage. “There would be total monitoring of passengers and crew which should mean it would be the safest place,” he said.
Stan Parker, another avid Australian cruiser echoed Mr Zweierlain’s sentiments. “The test would be carried out under strict conditions, probably more [strict] than if the ship was full,” he said.
Mr Parker also said, “The cruising industry has to restart so thousand of crew members can earn a living”. Although, he shared his concerns about overseas passengers and said he would only sail with others from Australia and New Zealand.