Royal Caribbean International has updated its health and safety protocols for transatlantic sailings, removing pre-cruise testing as of March 23, 2023. This will be welcome news to cruise enthusiasts this spring as ships reposition to Europe for the summer sailing season.
Pre-Cruise Testing Dropped
While Royal Caribbean dropped pre-cruise COVID-19 months ago for most cruises departing from the United States, longer or more elaborate sailings still required all guests to present negative test results at embarkation.
This included transatlantic cruises, which are typically repositioning sailings as cruise ships move between seasonal homeports. Because many different destinations had different protocols, the cruise line was cautious with its guidelines to ensure sailings could continue uninterrupted.
Now, Royal Caribbean has adjusted its health and safety requirements to remove the need for pre-cruise tests, and is notifying guests booked on transatlantic cruises of the update.
“As of March 23, 2023, pre-cruise testing is no longer required for our Transatlantic sailings,” the email states.
Because protocols are subject to change at any time, guests are urged to stay in close contact with the cruise line to remain informed about any possible adjustments as their sailing dates approach.
The Royal Caribbean website has also been updated to reflect the change, as transatlantic sailings are no longer listed as requiring a pre-cruise test. At this time, only cruises visiting Colombia, cruises from Australia, and transpacific sailings continue to require a pre-cruise test.
The next upcoming spring transatlantic cruises for Royal Caribbean’s fleet are a 14-night sailing as Odyssey of the Seas moves from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, and a 12-night sailing of Jewel of the Seas from Port Canaveral, Florida to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Both sailings depart on April 22, 2023.
Further transatlantic sailings begin on April 23 (Explorer of the Seas from Miami to Rome), April 29 (Rhapsody of the Seas from Miami to Haifa, Israel), April 30 (Enchantment of the Seas from New York to Rome), and May 1 (Anthem of the Seas from New York to Southampton).
Removing the pre-cruise testing requirement from all six of these sailings will be a great relief to passengers. Planning a transatlantic cruise can be a challenge, and with one less thing to manage, booked guests can look forward to their travels with greater ease and less stress.
Vaccinations Still Required
Guests booked aboard spring 2023 transatlantic sailings with Royal Caribbean should note that vaccinations are still required for all guests ages 12 and older. The final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine must have been administered at least 14 days prior to embarkation day.
Young cruisers under the age of 12 are not required to be vaccinated, and no guests are required to have booster shots, though such updates are recommended.
All travelers should also check for visas or other required documentation well before their sailing date to be sure they have all the necessary papers prepared for a smooth and convenient cruise.
Who Sets Guidelines?
Cruise lines must comply with the guidelines set by the destinations they hope to visit. If any region chooses to update protocols to require tests or other precautions, cruise lines sailing in that area will undoubtedly update their policies to remain in compliance in order to preserve ship itineraries.
In some rare instances, if a single port of call had far different guidelines than other destinations, it is possible a cruise line might simply drop that port of call from upcoming itineraries, especially if it is a last minute change that guests may have difficulty completing.