Royal Caribbean has received its fair share of criticism regarding its onboard policies for vaccinations, mask-wearing, and other COVID-19 related issues. So much so that President and CEO Michael Bayley posted to clarify everything.
Bayley said the cruise line, and he personally, had received numerous, sometimes rude, sometimes scary, messages from people regarding the policy changes the line has recently developed. This prompted him to make the rules and regulations clear for everyone.
To Be Vaccinated Or Not
It must be said, Royal Caribbean has been making things complicated for themselves and for guests that would like to book a voyage onboard. While all crew members on board all of the Royal Caribbean cruise ships will have to be vaccinated, the situation for guests is somewhat different.
Several ships do require vaccinations, while other ships, especially those sailing out of Florida, do not have a vaccination mandate. Royal Caribbean has always been in favor of cruises with vaccinated guests; however, the state of Florida made it illegal for businesses to ask for vaccinations.
To show how complicated the situation has become, the cruise line currently has the following policy:
For cruise ships from the US but outside of Florida, a vaccine is required. For cruise ships from Florida, a vaccine is strongly recommended. For cruises from international ports, a vaccine is required, except those out of Singapore, where a vaccine is not required. On top of that, Michael Bayley said the following regarding the current policy:
“I have read many different narratives on our vaccine policy and I thought I would clarify the current policy. It is complicated as we navigate through different laws and regulations by state and country and region. One guarantee is whatever the policy is today, it will evolve and change.”
Cruises With a Vaccine Mandate
The following cruises have a vaccine mandate in place:
- Adventure of the Seas from the Bahamas
- Anthem of the Seas sailing UK staycations from Southampton in the UK
- Jewel of the Seas sailing the Mediterranean from Cyprus
- Ovation of the Seas sailing to Alaska from Seattle
- Harmony of the Seas in the Mediterranean from Barcelona
- Oasis of the Seas from Bayonne, New Jersey (cruises not 100% confirmed yet)
All guests on these voyages must be 100% vaccinated 14-days before the departure date. Kids under the age of 16 before August 1 are exempted and need a negative PCR test result. After August 1, all kids eligible for a vaccine, which would be 12-years old and up, must be vaccinated. Kids will be required to be tested and subject to health protocols. There will be no additional charges for any testing for the kids.
Cruises Without a Vaccine Mandate
Guests sailing on the cruises from Florida onboard Freedom of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated. The cruise line expects to sail with approximately 90% vaccinated guests.
Guests who wish to sail, but are unwilling to share whether they have been vaccinated, or have not been vaccinated, will be subject to additional testing and additional health protocols onboard. This will be at their own expense.
One more ship is sailing; Quantum of the Seas has been operational since December of last year in Singapore. This ship operates under the Singapore government’s Royal health protocols and guidance using testing and health protocols. The rigorous testing protocols mean guests do not have to be vaccinated. To date, over 75,000 guests have sailed successfully onboard Quantum.