Celebrity Cruises has changed its health requirements onboard the two vessels sailing from Florida in June and July. The cruise line now complies with new Florida State Law that states the cruise line cannot ask for proof of vaccination.
Whether guests who have not been vaccinated will be happy with the changes remains to be seen. Not only will guests who have not been vaccinated, or those who do not wish to disclose their status be subject to additional costs, those guests will also need to comply with various additional rules and regulations on board.
Cruise Line Aims to Maintain 95% Threshold
Celebrity Cruises has maintained it will keep the 95% threshold for vaccinated guests onboard the ships. It’s two vessels that are sailing this month and next month but are under the restricted voyages pathway from the CDC. This means that both Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Equinox will not get permission to sail from the CDC if they do not comply with the 95% rule for vaccinated guests.
The issue the cruise line has is that it is not allowed to ask guests for proof of vaccination. The cruise line has now said it will not ask guests for proof of vaccination but will instead do this voluntarily.
Guests who do not provide proof of vaccination voluntarily will be considered unvaccinated and held to a different set of protocols onboard and incur additional costs to confirm they are healthy. These additional costs include a PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, an antigen test at the pier, and two antigen tests onboard which amount to $178.
The measures come with a long list of other measures the cruise line has brought forward to ensure they discourage guests from not providing proof, and at the same time, discouraging those that have not been vaccinated from booking a cruise. The measures include:
- Guests will need to arrive for embarkation with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival to the terminal.
- You will be subject to an antigen test at the pier.
- A mid-cruise antigen test onboard will be required.
- An antigen test will be required at the end of the cruise. Therefore, the cruise line discourages guests from making early travel plans on the day of debarkation to allow time for the required testing process.
- The per-person cost for these antigen tests is $178 and will be applied to your onboard folio. The cost for the PCR test before arrival is not included.
- Masks will be required at all times onboard except while eating or drinking.
- Depending on local government requirements, unvaccinated guests may be restricted from going ashore.
- Unvaccinated guests will have designated seating areas in some venues such as the dining rooms, casino, theatre, etc.
Making It Undesirable To Cruise
Vaccinations have long been a part of international travel. While Florida might not like it, the cruise industry is free to apply additional measures for guests who have not been vaccinated. Making cruising even more expensive and incorporating masks onboard Celebrity Cruises ensures guests will think twice before booking a cruise if they have not been vaccinated.
The cruise lines are stuck in between a rock and a hard place. But their first thought will be that most of the population has now been vaccinated in their largest market. And so, the cruise lines are thinking of surviving instead of pleasing.
Any outbreak amongst a group of unvaccinated guests will cause more than just a problem onboard. It will be a media frenzy the cruise lines are avoiding at all costs.
So Celebrity Edge will become the first cruise ship to begin regular cruises out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 26, 2021. Celebrity Equinox will then restart operations on July 25 out of the same homeport with Caribbean cruises. Both vessels follow Celebrity Millennium, which has already resumed sailings in the Caribbean out St. Maarten, and Celebrity Apex has started sailing out of Greece.