Since the CDC updated the various policies it outlines in the conditional sail order, multiple cruise lines have updated their pre-cruise testing protocols from three days to two days, including Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
The new testing requirements will be effective from September 13 and are for ships sailing from US ports. Both cruise lines have varying testing requirements as these are implemented according to the rules set by local governments. In the US, this means the cruise lines follow the directives from the CDC.
Royal Caribbean Testing Requirements
Royal Caribbean has been dealing with several changes in its policies to board in the last few months. The cruise line started out sailing with both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests, but this has now changed. The cruise line only allows those under the age of 12 onboard if they have not been vaccinated.
The updated protocols for testing are mainly based on the timeline before the cruise starts. Instead of undergoing a test three days before the start of the cruise, this now has to be done two days before the start of the cruise due to new CDC regulations.
On its website, the cruise line states the following:
- Vaccinated guests aged 12 and older must show a negative COVID-19 test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than two days before boarding.
- Unvaccinated kids aged 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR test taken no more than three days before boarding. For this age group, antigen tests are not accepted.
- Guests will need to pay for their tests themselves, and the cruise line will not reimburse the cost of the test.
The new requirements come on top of the protocols the cruise line had already implemented. These include a rapid PCR test for kids 2-11 years old taken before boarding the ship, and on cruises 5-nights or longer another complimentary antigen test will be taken before the cruise ends. Vaccinated guests who require a COVID-19 test to re-enter their country can now also get this done onboard.
Celebrity Cruises Testing Requirements
Celebrity Cruises has also updated its requirements for testing before boarding. The new protocols are for all ships sailing from the United States, including Celebrity Millennium sailing from Seattle, Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Equinox sailing from Fort Lauderdale, and Celebrity Summit sailing from Miami.
They will be in place from September 13 through October 1. What will happen after October 1 has not yet been announced by the cruise line.
Like the protocols on board the Royal Caribbean ships, all vaccinated guests must present a negative test result when they embark on the ship. The test can be a PCR or antigen test and must be taken within two days of boarding the ship. Children between 2 and 11 years of age will be tested again before boarding and disembarking the ship.
What Happens if You are Positive?
The question on many people’s minds these days is what will happen when you are booked on a cruise but test positive during the pre-cruise testing. In this case, guests onboard a Celebrity Cruises ship or a Royal Caribbean ship can breathe easily.
Both cruise lines offer a 100% refund of the cruise fare for everyone within a travel party if anyone tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days before the cruise or at the boarding terminal.
Should you test positive while onboard, a pro-rated refund will be applied, and the cruise line will cover any COVID-19 related medical treatment onboard, any required land-based quarantine, and travel home for you and your party.
With rising cases of the delta variant worldwide, the cruise lines will need to be extra careful with taking guests onboard; an outbreak on board any cruise ship could be devastating for the entire industry. While the new testing requirements may seem excessive to some, they have been designed to keep all guests and crew members onboard as safe as possible.