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Royal Caribbean to recruit volunteer passengers to test out new coronavirus protocols

It’s been a turbulent few months. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a cruise?

HOUSTON — Royal Caribbean is eager to hit the high seas in 2021, but first the cruise line company will have to make sure its fleet is in tip-top shape to keep passengers safe from coronavirus spread.

Travel and Leisure reported Monday the company has plans to hire volunteer passengers to test out its new COVID-19 safety protocols. Unfortunately, these volunteer passengers must be just that: unpaid volunteers.

The series of stimulated sailings will allow crews to practice the COVID-19 guidelines in a real-world environment, according to a Royal Caribbean spokesperson.

RELATED: CDC lifts no-sail order for cruise lines, lays out plan for return

Earlier this month, the White House was able to overturn a ‘no-sail order’ issued by the Center for Disease Control that many expected would be expanded to February 2021.

The order, which went into effect in March, prohibited most commercial cruise ships from sailing in waters under U.S. jurisdiction. It was a powerful blow to the cruise industry, forcing most companies to cancel trips scheduled through 2020.

With the ban lifted, Royal Caribbean and other popular cruise lines are now preparing to welcome back guests in 2021. Before these ships can set sail with real passengers, the government is requiring cruise lines to complete a series of stimulated voyages in order to test the ship and crew’s ability to manage COVID-19 risks.

Royal Caribbean hasn’t specified what test passengers will have to do or how long these mock voyages will last. However, travel journalists say they don’t expect the experience to be like your standard cruise although many people will be eager to sign up.