WWant to sail on a Royal Caribbean ship where vaccinations are mandatory? The cruise line’s latest press release provides much-needed clarification on exactly how to do this – and it turns out it’s as easy as getting away from Florida.
“I think that’s a fair assessment,” Celia de la Llama, spokesperson for Royal Caribbean, said via email.
The cruise line’s announcement was needed after a public relations hiccup earlier this month, when the cruise line announced it would begin sailing in early July from Florida on ships where vaccinations will be recommended but not mandatory – prompting many negative reactions on his social networks. and cruise message boards.
Royal Caribbean’s announcement also makes it clear that Perfect Day water at CocoCay, the cruise line’s private island in the Bahamas, that when it comes to vaccination protocols, the Sunshine State is an outlier.
All passengers over 16 must be vaccinated for departures from all U.S. ports – with the glaring exception of departures from the nation’s three largest ports, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis’ political brawl with the Centers of Disease Control and Protection led to state law prohibiting companies from verifying the immunization status of passengers.
The minimum age for vaccination will be lowered to 12 years from August 1, 2021, when the vaccine will be available nationwide for tweens and younger adolescents. Young travelers not yet eligible for the vaccine will be able to sail with a negative test result and will have to follow certain protocols.
Royal Caribbean’s vaccination policies from US and Caribbean ports are remarkably consistent:
- For cruises departing from Seattle, passengers aged 16 or older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and those aged 12 or older by August 1.
- For cruises from Texas, which begin in August, passengers aged 12 or older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
- For cruises departing from the Bahamas, passengers aged 16 or older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and those aged 12 or older by August 1.
For cruises departing from Florida, “we strongly recommend that all passengers eligible for vaccines be fully immunized when sailing from ports in Florida,” de Llama said. “We anticipate that approximately 90% of our clients will be vaccinated, based on regular surveys.”
Unvaccinated passengers will have additional hoops to go through. “Customers who choose not to be vaccinated or who do not wish to verify vaccination will be subject to testing, which will be at their own expense, and additional health protocols,” de Llama said. “Children not eligible for vaccines – under 12 as of August 1 – who sail will need to be tested, with costs covered by Royal Caribbean and subject to health protocols. “
The word “mask” does not appear in Royal Caribbean’s ad, which was a missed opportunity for the cruise line to match unvaccinated passengers that they will be required to wear face masks on cruise ships.
Its sister cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, made this clear during a sales call with travel agents last week. As Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President of Sales, Business Support and Service at Celebrity Cruises, explained summer cruise protocols to hundreds of travel counselors, a slide in her presentation outlined onboard policies for passengers. . The first bullet reads: “Following CDC guidelines, masks will not be required for vaccinated guests and children under 15 years old.” The next one said, “Unvaccinated adult guests are required to wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking or in their cabin.”
Nine Royal Caribbean ships are scheduled to cruise from US and Caribbean ports this summer – about half of them will leave Florida and the rest from other ports.
For Americans who prefer to navigate without the uncertainty surrounding Florida vaccine checks, options include Serenade of the Seas and Ovation of the seas, departing on July 19 and August 13 respectively from Seattle for 7-night cruises on the glaciers of Alaska; Independence of the seas, Galveston kicks off on August 15 on a 7-night Western Caribbean itinerary.
And do not forget Adventure of the seas, who is currently sailing from Nassau, Bahamas, on a 7-night cruise to the Bahamas and Cozumel. The ship set sail on June 12 with a fully vaccinated crew and fully vaccinated guests aged 16 or older, who make up 94% of all guests on board, while the remaining 6% of guests are children under the age of 18. 16 years old, ”said the Lama.
The politicization of vaccine verification has wreaked havoc on Florida’s $ 8 billion cruise industry, which is already struggling with an image problem. Only half of Americans (50%) are confident the cruise industry can safely reopen after the pandemic, according to a recent Harris Poll Covid-19 follow-up survey conducted in late May.
When asked if they were convinced that various industries could keep customers safe, respondents ranked the cruise industry last, behind everyday businesses such as retail stores (82 %), restaurants (80%), cinemas (63%) and sports and concerts. locations (59%).
Notably, consumer confidence in the cruise industry’s ability to ensure passenger safety is also far behind other travel subcategories such as hotels (79%), airlines (69%) and amusement parks (63%).