It sounds like an April Fool’s Day joke. Except it isn’t. Or so they say.

Showing its playful side, cruise giant Royal Caribbean is asking the British wisecracker who famously suggested the name Boaty McBoatface for a new research vessel to help the line name one of its next ships, too.

Royal Caribbean tells USA TODAY it has invited James Hand, 26, of the UK’s West Midlands to sail on its newest and biggest vessel, Harmony of the Seas, when it debuts in May. In what is either guerrilla marketing at its best or a disaster in the making, he’ll then meet with the line’s ship naming team to brainstorm a name for a coming vessel.

“Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship,” Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley is quoted as saying in an announcement to be issued Friday.

Hand gained overnight fame earlier this month after submitting the ridiculous name to an otherwise sober online contest to label a $288 million Antarctic survey vessel. The ship is being built for the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council. Catching the fancy of mischievous Internet users, the moniker quickly shot to the top in online voting, ahead of such history-inspired names as Shackleton and Endeavour, and the story went viral (so much so that the Council’s voting site crashed).

So does this mean a Boaty McBoatface of the Seas or something similar is in the cards? Probably not, although Royal Caribbean showed its sense of humor by mocking up an image of one of its ships with the name splashed across its rear. Hand won’t necessarily have the final say in a future ship name.

Not that Hand isn’t taking the challenge seriously.

“I’m really excited Royal Caribbean has given me the opportunity to test out my boat-naming prowess on its fleet,” he told USA TODAY in an email relayed through a third party, as he’s no longer giving interviews. “The offer came as a massive surprise, as has all of the interest since I submitted the name Boaty McBoatface.”

Hand said he’s never been on a cruise before and is looking forward to experiencing Harmony of the Seas. Scheduled to sail for the first time with paying passengers on May 22, the ship is one of five Royal Caribbean has on order, three of which have yet to be named.

“I’m flattered by the interest,” said Hand, who at times has seemed a little flummoxed by the media frenzy his submission set off. “Especially as I was starting to think my ship-naming days were behind me.”

In a recent tweet, Hand called the whole thing “bonkers.”

This isn’t the first time Royal Caribbean has turned to outsiders for help in naming a vessel. Readers from USA TODAY named Royal Caribbean’s two largest ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, as part of a contest held at the USA TODAY Cruise Hub in 2008.

USA TODAY Cruise in 2015 was among a handful of U.S. media outlets to get early access to Royal Caribbean’s last new vessel, Anthem of the Seas, ahead of its christening in Southampton, England. For our ‘first look’ tour of the ship, click through the carousel below.

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