Royal Caribbean has made another change to its policies for guests onboard its ships. The company has now announced it will require unvaccinated guests to purchase additional insurance policies for sailing from Florida starting August 1.
The measure comes after Royal Caribbean announced several measures that affect guests that have not been vaccinated. Last week the cruise line said it would require guests to purchase a testing package on top of their cruise fare, and only days ago, the cruise line announced several venues would be restricted to unvaccinated guests.
Royal Caribbean Travel Protection Program
Guests on board one of the five vessels sailing from Florida starting in August can either purchase their own insurance policy or buy additional protection with the cruise line through the Royal Caribbean Travel Protection Program. The insurance policy must name the unvaccinated guest as the policyholder or beneficiary.
Unvaccinated Cruisers on board Freedom of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas are expected to be fully insured for any medical expenses and coverage for quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive COVID-19 test result.
Guests will need to have coverage of $25,000 for medical expenses and $50.000 for the quarantine coverage. The policy applies to all bookings from August 1 through December 31, 2021.
Policy Changes Targets Unvaccinated Guests
While the cruise lines have been fighting with the CDC to return to sailing over the last 12 months, one thing they do seem to agree on is the need to sail with vaccinated guests. While Royal Caribbean has said it will be performing cruises with unvaccinated guests, it is making it financially unattractive for unvaccinated guests.
In the last few weeks, Royal Caribbean has been finding ways to protect itself and guests onboard from COVID-19. The cruise line cannot ask for proof of vaccination due to a law in place in Florida; the cruise line can ask to offer this information voluntarily.
In fact, by requiring that guests that do not provide this information purchase a testing package and additional insurance, the line has found a way around the Florida regulations. The testing package would cost guests $136 for sailings of 6 nights or less and $178 for sailings of 7 nights or more.
Florida signed a law only weeks ago that states that businesses, schools, and even government organizations cannot ask people for proof of vaccination. While the law is intended to protect people’s personal information, it does put cruise lines on the spot.
Although many cruise ships have sailed over the last few months with PCR testing only, the general idea is now that cruises with 100% vaccinated guests are much safer and protect the cruise lines from outbreaks onboard and the ensuing media frenzy that would surely come.
That the policy seems to be working was proven this week. Celebrity Edge was the first cruise ship to sail from a US port in 15 months. While guests that were not vaccinated were allowed to sail, only two did so.