Royal Caribbean updated its protocols on March 15, including a more relaxed shore excursion policy for unvaccinated guests. The cruise line now accepts a certificate of recovery rather than the need for a negative pre-cruise test.
Royal Caribbean Updates Protocols
The cruise line sent out an email to booked guests on March 15 detailing a further update to its protocols for US departures. The main change is that Royal Caribbean is relaxing its policy for shore excursions starting on March 18, 2022.
Royal Caribbean now says in its updated policy, “guests can visit most ports of call freely, regardless of vaccination status.”
Some ports of call still require all guests to book a shore excursion through Royal Caribbean regardless of vaccination status. Those ports include St. Lucia, Barbados and Falmouth. Guests are only allowed to explore within the port area on their own freely. Guests who do not book a tour cannot venture ashore even further.
Previously, unvaccinated guests could only leave the ship to enjoy a port of call if they booked an approved shore excursion through the cruise line. This mainly impacted families with unvaccinated kids, but there was the option to use Royal Caribbean’s youth drop-off program, allowing adults to go ashore.
There are requirements for unvaccinated passengers to go ashore in Belize in March and April 2022. The cruise line says as part of its shore excursion policy for Belize, “Fully vaccinated parties may book a shore excursion or visit the port freely. Parties with unvaccinated children will need to book a tour to go ashore.”
Unchanged for the cruise line’s private destinations of Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas and Labadee in Haiti, all guests can enjoy a day ashore regardless of vaccination status.
Also unchanged are the requirements for guests departing from Bridgetown, Barbados. For March and April, guests sailing from Barbados will need to book a tour through the cruise line regardless of vaccination status for specific ports.
Another significant change to Royal Caribbean’s protocols is accepting a certificate of recovery. The cruise line will accept the certificate instead of a negative pre-cruise test. Guests will have to show the certificate during embarkation, along with a PCR test taken within 11-90 days before the sailing date.
Royal Caribbean and other major cruise lines are gradually relaxing requirements as COVID cases continue to decline. Carnival Cruise Line also recently relaxed its rules for “bubble” only tours for unvaccinated guests. Masks have also been optional for fully vaccinated passengers since February 2022 on Royal Caribbean cruise ships.