Royal Caribbean International has once more updated its health and safety protocols, eliminating pre-cruise testing for guests traveling to Haiti or Honduras on cruises departing from U.S. or Caribbean homeports from November 9, 2022, regardless of vaccination status.
With this update, only guests who will be visiting Colombia, taking transatlantic sailings, or cruising from Australia will require pre-cruise COVID-19 tests.
More Testing Requirements Dropped
Royal Caribbean has emailed guests booked on upcoming sailings with the updated health and safety protocols.
“Effective November 9, 2022, all travelers on U.S. sailings — regardless of vaccination status — will no longer require pre-departure testing (excludes sailings to Colombia),” the email read.
Previously, pre-cruise testing was also required for all cruises visiting Haiti or Honduras, both popular ports of call with private resort destinations.
In Haiti, Royal Caribbean ships frequently call on Labadee, the cruise line’s private island on the northern coast. Several ships routinely visit Labadee each week.
In Honduras, Roatan island is a favorite port of call, visited by several cruise lines. In addition to Royal Caribbean ships, Carnival Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, Viking Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and other lines also visit the port.
Guests do not need to be vaccinated to sail to either destination, but previously, unvaccinated guests age 12 and older had to present negative COVID-19 test results before their cruise.
Testing Still Required for Colombia – But Only for Some Guests
With these changes, only U.S. cruises visiting Colombia will now require a pre-cruise test. That requirement does not apply to all passengers on board, however.
According to Royal Caribbean International’s pre-cruise testing requirements FAQ with respect to Colombia, “guests under the age of 12 and fully vaccinated guests do not have any testing requirements.”
Only guests over the age of 12 who are not fully vaccinated – defined as 14 days following the full series of doses for the applicable vaccine type – will now need to take a pre-cruise test.
Tests may be taken up to three days prior to embarkation, and can be any type of PCR or antigen test, professionally proctored or self-administered at home without supervision.
Guests are responsible to make their own pre-cruise testing arrangements if necessary, and are also responsible for all associated testing costs.
Colombia has several cruise ports, the most popular of which is Cartagena, the fifth-largest city in the country, centrally located on the northern Caribbean coast.
The next Royal Caribbean ship scheduled to call on Cartagena is Vision of the Seas, which will visit the port on November 20 as part of a 9-night roundtrip Southern Caribbean sailing from Fort Lauderdale that will depart Florida on November 16.
Regardless of destination, Royal Caribbean International recommends that guests be fully vaccinated and boosted before traveling, though vaccination is not required.
Will Protocols Change This Winter?
While it is encouraging that more vaccination and pre-cruise testing requirements are continuing to be eased in many popular cruise destinations, travelers should always be aware that requirements could change.
Cruise lines are continually monitoring guidelines from their homeports as well as port of call destinations, and will adapt cruise requirements as necessary to meet changing protocols.
Guests booked on any cruise line should stay in close communication for updates as their sailing date approaches, to be sure they are in compliance with any protocol or requirement changes that could impact their cruise.