With guests having difficulties getting tested before their cruise departures and especially due to updated requirements by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Royal Caribbean has decided to make things easier by selling its own home test kit for fully vaccinated passengers.
Royal Caribbean Home Test Kit
Royal Caribbean just made it easier for guests who are scrambling to get their pre-cruise test completed. It also comes in handy after the CDC recently updated its requirements for passengers to show a negative test result taken within three days before departure. That will change to just two days from September 13, 2021.
Guests can now order a COVID home test kit from Royal Caribbean through the Optum store. The test kit by Abbott BinaxNOW is available at $69.99 for a two-pack and $99.99 for a three-pack. As speed is essential due to the updated protocols, the test pack will ship on the same day as long as ordered before noon Monday through Saturday on non-holidays.
It is important to know this home test kit is only valid for Royal Caribbean guests who are fully vaccinated. This is in line with CDC requirements due to the use of at-home telehealth. The rapid antigen home test will be monitored virtually to make sure the test is taken correctly. Using eMed Telehealth Service, the result will be verified in 15 minutes and come via email and the NAVICA app.
The cruise line has updated its test FAQ page with a link to the Optum store. The cruise line says, “ORDER YOUR AT-HOME TEST KIT NOW: Fully vaccinated guests can now visit Royal Caribbean’s online storefront to order at-home antigen test kits that include eMed Telehealth Service. Complete your pre-cruise test at home, with live video supervision by a Certified Guide, and get your results in 15 minutes. Test kits ship to all 50 states, and arrive at your door in three business days or less.“
The new home test kits comply with the cruise line’s testing protocols. Royal Caribbean currently accepts a molecular test, also called a PCR or NAAT test, and an antigen test called a rapid antigen test (which Abbot BinaxNOW falls under). The cruise line does not accept a home test result administered without being supervised live by a telehealth professional.
Other cruise lines are working on making testing easier for guests. Carnival Cruise Line is working on implementing mobile rapid testing at all of its embarkation homeports.
Trying to get tested and making arrangements is proving to be complex. The CDC issued the requirement to be tested within two days in an update on August 27 to the Conditional Sailing Order. This will go into effect from September 13, 2021.
It is important always to check with Royal Caribbean before a cruise just in case any protocols have been altered. There are different measures in place depending on where a ship is departing from. The situation remains fluid and cruise lines are constantly adapting to make sure guests and crew remain safe.