Royal Caribbean Cruises announced a new set of rules for unvaccinated unwell passengers who cannot fly on their ships. Those passengers will have to pay a $500 per person fine to board their vessels and have to fly on the next available cruise ship the company offers. The new policy is part of the company’s new policy that allows nurses on board Royal Caribbean ships to vaccinate passengers who can prove they have been vaccinated against diseases like the flu.
Royal Caribbean International and the cruise lines that it has acquired have put in place reduced rates for families that have chosen not to have their children vaccinated. The cruise lines, which are owned by Carnival Corporation, have taken steps to ensure that unvaccinated children do not pose a risk to the other passengers and that the children are not given any special privileges.
Royal Caribbean is preparing for the departure of its ships from U.S. ports in general and Florida in particular, informing passengers of what to expect….. including protocols and fees that will be charged for unvaccinated guests.
Vaccination is highly recommended but not required
Odyssey of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International) In a letter to travel partners whose guests are traveling on Freedom of the Seas in July, Royal Caribbean strongly recommends that guests 16 and older be fully vaccinated and provide proof of this. Those who do not or cannot provide evidence are considered unvaccinated, the report said. Therefore, unvaccinated hosts should undergo additional COVID-19 testing at their own expense and follow other specific protocols in accordance with CDC guidelines.
The company says those who are willing to abide by these rules are happy to get their money back. We expect restrictions and regulations to become more flexible in the coming months as the public health situation evolves. READ MORE: CDC revises guidelines to focus on unvaccinated Non-immunized passengers must be tested before boarding and disembarking, and the cost of the test – $136 – will be deducted from the customer’s boarding account. The line added that it will pay for children who are not yet eligible to take the exam.
Face masks must be used for all
As for life aboard the ship, the letter states that current CDC guidelines require all guests – vaccinated or not – to wear masks indoors unless they are sitting down and actively eating or drinking. It is also clarified that masks are not required in your cabin when you are with your tour group, outside or on the Perfect Day at CocoCay unless you are in a crowd. It is interesting to note that it is specified that masks are not required for vaccinated persons when they are in places (bars, lounges, restaurants and entertainment venues) or at events reserved for vaccinated persons.
However, there is no indication of what these events might be. The letter also states that the company is waiting for an update on the CDC’s masking guidelines, and will keep its customers informed of any changes. Since most of our guests will be vaccinated, seating for [these] guests will be limited, Royal Caribbean said. We will do our best to create an environment where all guests can enjoy their stay with us. It’s not clear from the letter how they will verify who is vaccinated and who is not, but it does say that the SeaPass will be required for access to lounges, shows and restaurants, so keep it handy during the cruise.
Jewel of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean) It should also be noted that there will be special areas in the dining halls for both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests, the buffet will be open but served by crew members, and the MyTime Dining option will not be available to unvaccinated guests. Similarly, some evening shows will only be open to non-inoculated people. While the letter is not specific about the conduct of shore excursions, it does indicate that non-vaccinated guests can be expected to follow stricter protocols than vaccinated guests.
READ MORE: Royal cancels Odyssey flights due to positive tests on crew