Royal Caribbean is offering people free “test cruises” amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Royal Caribbean is planning number of test sailings to give the cruise line the opportunity to validate new health and safety protocols. The cruises are rumored to launch as soon as December.

So, what exactly is a test cruise? “Test cruises are non-revenue simulated cruises that are conducted in a manner as close to a real cruise as possible, albeit with volunteers onboard,” according to Royal Caribbean Blog.

To become a volunteer you have to be at least eighteen with proof of no pre-existing health conditions and agree to the inherent risk of participating in the test sailing.

Interested parties can fill out a form via the company’s website. Royal Caribbean also created a Facebook group to update fans on upcoming voyages.

As of late October, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) announced that conditional sailing could take place. One of the prerequisites to be able to launch cruises is to conduct the test sailings so workers can tweak and modify safety precautions as needed. Certain happenings, events and procedures need to take place during the trial runs.

“We're going to be doing a series of sailings using our employees and other volunteers to test out the new protocols and make tweaks and modifications to ensure that everything is running smoothly and still deliver that Royal Caribbean amazing vacation experience,” Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, said in a statement.

This past week, five people tested positive for COVID-19 on the SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream 1, the first cruise ship to resume travel to the Caribbean.

At the beginning of the pandemic, numerous cruise passengers contracted the virus while on vacation, such as travelers aboard the Diamond Princess ship that was docked for nearly a month due to an outbreak onboard.

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