Royal Caribbean Drops Requirements for Most Cruises

Royal Caribbean has once more updated and simplified its health and safety protocols, opening up more cruises to more passengers.

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As additional Caribbean destinations continue to adjust their own protocols for travelers, Royal Caribbean International has updated their requirements for upcoming sailings.

This is a welcome simplification for many travelers, and permits more guests to set sail with the world’s largest cruise line.

Protocols Adjusted

In a simplification to its COVID-19 health and safety protocols, Royal Caribbean International has announced that beginning on Monday, September 5, 2022, all travelers – regardless of vaccination status – will be welcomed aboard a greater variety of itineraries. The available itineraries include:

  • All sailings from Florida homeports
  • All sailings from Los Angeles, California; Galveston, Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana
  • All Oasis of the Seas sailings from Cape Liberty, New Jersey
  • All sailings from any European homeports
  • All sailings to and from Greece
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

Some testing guidelines do remain in effect for Royal Caribbean guests. For European cruises that call on ports in Greece or Spain, for example, any travelers who are not considered “up to date” according to guidelines from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), must take a test onboard their ship prior to debarking.

The EMA defines “up to date” vaccination as having had either the final dose in a primary approved vaccine series or a booster does no more than nine months (270 days) prior to sailing. Guests who do not meet that standard will be required to take the onboard tests before visiting Greece or Spain.

Testing Changes

In addition to more opening of cruise itineraries to a greater range of passengers, Royal Caribbean International has also made its pre-cruise testing requirements even simpler.

As of September 5, 2022, fully vaccinated guests will no longer need a negative pre-cruise test result for any sailing 9 nights or shorter, unless on sailings that visit Greece.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Captain Wang / Shutterstock

Unvaccinated guests age 5 and older must still test before sailing, but can do so up to three days prior to embarkation, regardless of cruise length. Self-tests will be accepted for this pre-cruise testing.

All guests, regardless of vaccination status, must continue to test before any cruises of 10 nights or longer, no matter where they may be sailing.

Similarly, sailings to or from Australia or Singapore still require guests to be vaccinated in accordance with local regulations, no matter what the passengers’ vaccination status, the cruise destination, or the cruise length.

Still Protecting Health and Safety

While Royal Caribbean is easing restrictions to permit more guests to set sail, the cruise line is still committed to protecting all passengers, crew members, and port communities.

“The cruise line continues to practice health and safety measures that exceed other types of vacations,” a press release announcing today’s changes read.

“These measures include the routine monitoring and vaccination of all crew members and keeping them up to date with boosters when they are eligible, enhanced testing and care capabilities in every onboard medical center, and more.”

It should be noted that Royal Caribbean, as well as other cruise lines, continues to work with port destinations with any changes, and will further adjust protocols as necessary.

Cruise Ships at Grand Cayman
Photo Credit: Angela N Perryman / Shutterstock.com

These latest updates are in line with recent protocol changes from popular Caribbean ports of call, including St. Kitts as well as the Cayman Islands.

Guests booked on upcoming sailings should continue to remain in contact with the cruise line and stay informed through emails, text alerts, and other communications to be sure they meet all updated guidelines before embarkation.

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