Florida couple hoping to be part of test cruise volunteer group

You could call Keith and Jennifer Johnson cruise enthusiasts.

“We only do Royal Caribbean,” Jennifer said Monday. “We're very loyal to royal.”

The retired couple moved to Florida just to be closer to all of the ports. With a resume of 40 Royal Caribbean cruises, they were some of the last people to be on a cruise ship when they disembarked back in March.

“We made it as far as Germany before our cruise got canceled,” Keith said of their last cruise which almost left them stranded overseas.

Now, they’re one of over 40,000 people who have joined a Facebook group “Volunteer of the Seas“.

“We talk to the other cruisers we met through cruising, and we all commiserate with one another. We have friends that are on their seventh canceled cruise.”

There is hope on the horizon for these cruisers. Royal Caribbean announced simulated trial ceilings will begin soon, now that the no-sail order has been lifted.

The cruise line says that there are still a lot of details to work out to make sure everyone’s experience is safe. They’ll have to review the requirements set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Already, thousands of potential volunteers have reached out with interest; including Jennifer and Keith. They weighed in on what they expect.

“Some people think ‘Oh yeah, I’m gonna do the test cruise were gonna get back on a ship. I’m gonna have my margaritas or whatever’ No! I anticipate the experience to be closer to we are going to be closer to crew helping the industry to come back,” said Jennifer.

“We’re volunteering to be lab rats,” added Keith.

Overall, the pair said that getting back on a ship would be great, but helping the cruise economy would be the real win.