With the Delta variant spreading worldwide, Royal Caribbean has decided to modify its testing policy to make sure all guests remain protected as the cruise line continues to move forward safely on resuming cruises.
Royal Caribbean Protocol Change
In keeping guests and crew safe from the spreading delta variant, Royal Caribbean made a change to its protocols. For August, for sailings that are five nights or longer, all guests aged 2 and older will need to take a PCR or antigen test before their cruise departure.
It’s an important change that guests who are booked on these sailings will have to go through. The cruise line says that the test will have to show negative within 72 hours before the ship sets sail. Guests will have to make their own arrangements to get tested, such as a local store accredited for operating tests. Proof of the negative result will then have to be shown at the terminal.
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Royal Caribbean posts that the results can be printed or can be shown on a mobile device such as an email. Guests will also have to pay for the tests themselves. The cruise line has already posted a notice on its protocols page for cruises out of Seattle, Texas, and Florida letting guests know about the change.
The test requirement was already in place for not fully vaccinated guests, such as those who were not eligible for the vaccine. The situation remains fluid, and Royal Caribbean is adapting to the growing spread of the delta variant. Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley posted the reasoning behind the change:
“Why? Because the Delta variant is now spreading rapidly with over 92,000 new infections yesterday alone in the USA and in Florida one of the industry’s major markets there were over 17,000 cases yesterday.”
“So what! I am vaccinated! Yes, even with the vast majority of our onboard population highly vaccinated we are seeing more covid positive cases with vaccinated guests.”
“We realize this will not make many guests happy just as it will comfort many guests. We are trying our very best to provide a safe and healthy and fun vacation for all our guests our crew and the communities we visit during these challenging times.”
For now, Royal Caribbean will continue to sail, and there are different vaccine policies depending on where each vessel is sailing from. For cruises out of the U.S., the guidelines from the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention are being followed along with the local laws such as the vaccine passport in Florida.
Six Royal Caribbean cruise ships have resume sailings around the world, including from Florida, the Bahamas, in Alaska, out of Singapore, the UK, and Cyprus.