Royal Caribbean CEO says 100,000 people have volunteered for test cruises

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The CEO of Royal Caribbean International said 100,000 people have volunteered as passengers for the company’s mock cruises, reportedly in the works to set sail at an undetermined, future date in the fight against the coronavirus.

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean executive Vicky Freed revealed that the company needs cruising enthusiasts to volunteer as passengers as it preps to return ships to service. Under new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cruise lines must run these trials to assess their ability to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, before formally resuming sailing with reduced capacity.

PREVIOUS: Royal Caribbean will look for volunteers to go on test cruises

The first cruises next year may be short trips to CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, Cruise Industry News reported.

To that end, the cruise line recently created a "Volunteer of the Seas" Facebook group, which is currently 38,400 members strong, and opened up an online form to gauge interest.

According to Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s CEO and president, the cruise line been inundated with responses since announcing the opportunity, with tens of thousands of people allegedly eager to volunteer.

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"And just like that...100,000 people have volunteered. We can’t wait to start this next phase with you all!" Bayley wrote in a Facebook post shared Sunday.

“It has been so gratifying to receive literally thousands of emails and calls offering to volunteer,” he said in an earlier message.

Though it remains unclear how many volunteers may be selected for the mock voyages, when the sailings might happen, and where exactly they’d be going, a rep for Royal Caribbean said the cruise line is thrilled to have this level of support.

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“Royal Caribbean has some of the most loyal guests in the cruise industry, and we have been overjoyed with their interest to take part in our simulated trial sailings,” a spokesperson told Fox News on Monday. “This week alone, we have received more than 5,000 emails, not including the tweets, comments and messages across social media.”

As ever, the cruise line’s priority is to keep crew and customers safe at sea, the spokesperson stressed.

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