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Royal Caribbean announces test cruise ship volunteers sweepstakes begins on Friday

04 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean will hold a sweepstakes for those that want to go on a test cruise for free later this week.

As cruise ships return to service in the United States, they must undergo a test cruise so that the ship can be approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Royal Caribbean posted a teaser on Facebook that the Volunteers of the Seas sweepstakes opens this Friday, August 6.

No other details were shared regarding which ships or when these test cruise(s) might be held.

Here are the official eligibility rules so far we can expect.

No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. /D.C. Excluding MT, age 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in MS). Void in MT, outside the 50 U.S. /DC, and where prohibited. Starts 12:00:01 AM ET on August 6, 2021; ends 12:00:01 AM ET on August 7, 2021. Total ARV for all 1,125 Grand Prize(s): $731,250. For full Official Rules see bio. Prize excludes transportation to and from the vessel and hotel accommodations. Sponsor: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

On the Volunteers of the Seas Facebook page, the cruise line added, "Stay tuned here for more information on how to enter and your chance to join us on a Simulated Voyage."

It sounds like anyone interested in winning a spot on a test cruise might have to register again for this particular sweepstakes.

Read moreHere's what it looks like if Royal Caribbean invites you to volunteer for a test cruise

Royal Caribbean started taking registrations for test cruisers back in November 2020, and quickly amassed a list of well over 300,000 registrations.

Royal Caribbean opened up its Volunteer of the Seas group in an effort to more easily collect information on anyone who might be interested in being a volunteer.

This is the first real opportunity to get on a ship since the group was created.

The first test cruises were limited to cruise line employees, but over the last few recent test cruises, Royal Caribbean has begun inviting members of the public.  Travel agents, top tier Crown and Anchor members, and members of the media have been invited to join other cruise line employees in the testing.

Friday's sweepstakes would possibly be the first opportunity for members of the general public to secure a spot for a test sailing.

In addition to demonstrating to the CDC the viability of new health protocols, Royal Caribbean is using these test sailings to prepare the vessel and crew members before revenue sailings begin.

Read moreEverything you need to know about Royal Caribbean test cruises

Thus far, 7 test sailings have occurred, with Mariner of the Seas on August 11 and Oasis of the Seas on August 22 publicly known as upcoming test cruises.

There could be other test sailing dates, but they have not been announced publicly.