After a spate of measles outbreaks on cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises, the cruise lines are now moving to more aggressively police travel restrictions by refusing cruisers that have not complied with the company’s vaccination requirements entry on board. The policy, which will start May 1, will allow the cruise lines to charge non-compliant cruisers a fee of $250 per person to board. The charges will not apply to children under the age of one, pregnant women, or individuals with medical exemptions.
The cruise line Royal Caribbean has been facing a lot of criticism from passengers who refuse to be vaccinated. The company has recently announced that it will penalize passengers who refuse to get vaccinated while sailing on its ships. The new policy is already causing a stir with many other cruise lines who say it’s unfair to blame the traveler.
Loyal cruisers were reportedly pleased to hear that Royal Caribbean would resume operations in the US in July, but it turns out that sailing during a pandemic will be even more difficult than expected.
Political tug-of-war, a lawsuit by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis against the CDC over its mandatory vaccination policy for cruise lines, and new laws in Florida and Texas prohibiting operators from requiring guests to be vaccinated to participate in a cruise, have forced Royal Caribbean to withdraw its original requirement that passengers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding its ships. The instructions for business guests are now simple: We strongly recommend that all guests 16 years of age and older be fully immunized.
As Frommer’s blog notes, this has essentially led to the need for separate but comprehensive rules for the two groups of passengers who will sail on each ship: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. It should be noted that all crew members are fully vaccinated, regardless of the region in which they sail.
The cruise line has just released a new set of protocols for passengers sailing out this summer, which vary depending on the location of their ship’s home port. For flights departing from Florida or Texas that have both vaccinated and unvaccinated people on board, it is important that travelers know what rules apply to them.
For those who choose to go on a cruise without being vaccinated, the cruise experience will certainly be more limited and closer to what has become the new norm over the past 15 months, as opposed to the old norm to which everyone is so eager to return.
In a statement specific to the July and August flights aboard Freedom of the Seas from Miami, Royal Caribbean clarifies the vaccination and testing requirements (for unvaccinated guests) and what to expect for each group of passengers on board. Although these rules currently apply only to Freedom of the Seas’ summer flights, similar protocols are expected to be applied to the line’s other flights from Florida and Texas.
Guests are requested to provide proof of vaccination upon check-in. B. the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination card COVID-19, as required. He continues: Persons 16 years of age and older who cannot provide documentation will be considered unvaccinated. The decision whether or not to disclose vaccination status is therefore entirely in the hands of the client.
People who do not want to be vaccinated should still be tested for COVID-19, except infants under two years of age. Our unvaccinated guests must also be tested for COVID-19 at their own expense and follow the medical protocols described below, which are based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that several tests must be carried out, including a PCR test before travel, at least 72 hours before boarding, a test at the terminal before boarding and another test on board before disembarkation. Unvaccinated guests 16 and older pay $136 per test, while the cost of testing for youth ages 2 to 15 is covered by the cruise line.
Royal Caribbean also reports: Since most guests on Freedom of the Seas will be vaccinated, only vaccinated guests will be present at certain venues and events. We will do our best to create an environment where all guests can enjoy their stay with us.
Unvaccinated guests are also more likely to need to wear a mouthguard than vaccinated guests. While everyone must wear a mask indoors unless they are sitting down and actively eating or drinking, the rules also state that masks are not required for vaccinated persons when they are in establishments (bars, lounges, restaurants and entertainment venues) or at vaccination-only events. For all the guests: 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.
During meals on board, passengers are also seated separately based on their vaccination status. In the main dining hall, we will set up separate dining rooms for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people. Unfortunately, My Time Dining will not be available for unvaccinated guests.
For shore excursions other than Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day on the CocoCay private island, all guests are subject to restrictions and requirements established by local authorities in the ports we call at, Royal Caribbean notes. It is to be expected that stricter protocols will apply to non-vaccinated guests than to vaccinated guests.
For more information, visit royalcaribbean.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are free cruise offers legitimate?
It’s that time of year again for Royal Caribbean to send out its seasonal email to its cruisers, offering up some of its signature vacation packages. Depending on how long you have been a loyal cruiser, you may have received your own freebie goodies last week. While you may have basked in the sweet taste of a free night at your favourite cruise line, many cruisers may be unaware that Royal Caribbean is now requiring these “freebie” offerings to come with a cost. Royal Caribbean offers free trips to its passengers, and we have no problem with that. What we have a problem with is the cruise line’s recent efforts to validate these free trips with passengers. This has led to a lot of confusion, and Royal Caribbean has been quick to cover its tracks by taking away the option to decline a free trip.
What is the least expensive cruise line?
Royal Caribbean’s Unvaccinated Cruisers Face More Fees, Less Options As more and more cruise lines begin to charge an additional vaccination fee to passengers on their ships, Royal Caribbean has decided to follow suit by doing the same. Royal Caribbean’s Unvaccinated Cruisers Face More Fees, Less Options Royal Caribbean officials confirmed that its new fee will take effect on October 1, 2015, however they have not yet decided exactly how much the vaccination fee will be. On Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, the new vaccination fee will cost passengers $40 per person, per cruise, while the cost on its Quantum class ships will be $60 per person. Royal Caribbean passengers are now required to show proof of rabies vaccination in order to board Cruise lines offer a wide array of options for cruisers, but not all of them offer the same level of service. Royal Caribbean, the largest cruise line, has so far remained the most popular cruise ship company in the world, and has a reputation of providing excellent value to cruisers. While Royal Caribbean is not the cheapest cruise line out there, the company offers many attractive features, such as onboard fitness and spa facilities, and the option of purchasing onboard Wi-Fi.
What are the hidden fees on a cruise?
Cruise lines are often criticized for their high cruise fares that are out of reach for all but the well off. However, while cruise passengers are paying high fares, many are unaware that they are paying even more at the end of the cruise when they are back on dry land. Cruise vacations are a popular way for travelers to go on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but many cruise passengers have never heard of the hidden fees that many cruise lines charge as part of their overall cruise fare.