As more countries tighten COVID-19 testing protocols for travelers, Royal Caribbean has decided to cover the cost of both PCR and antigen “swab and go” tests through January 31, 2022. This will help travelers make suitable arrangements to ease their travel plans after enjoying a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Royal Caribbean to Cover Test Costs Through January
Earlier in December, Royal Caribbean had updated its re-entry testing policy to end optional onboard testing at the end of cruises after January 5, and instead was to offer testing at the cruise terminal at guests’ expense. Now, the cruise line’s Frequently Asked Questions about re-entry testing have been updated with new information from January 5 through January 31.
The FAQ now reads, “The cost of this testing is covered by Royal Caribbean for sailings departing through January 31, 2022.”
This free testing administered by Royal Caribbean’s test provider partners is offered in the cruise terminal after disembarkation, and test results will be emailed to travelers within an hour after testing. Test appointments will need to be scheduled onboard, with information on how to schedule that post-cruise test available on each ship.
Travelers should note that this free testing cutoff date is based on the ship’s embarkation and sailing dates, meaning any guest setting sail on January 31 will be eligible for a free re-entry test at the end of their cruise several days later.
Guests can still make their own post-cruise testing arrangements at independent pharmacies, clinics, or at their departure airport. Guests who need such tests prior to returning to their home countries should note their individual testing windows and what types of tests are accepted under their country’s guidelines to ensure they fully comply with the requirements.
Guests should also note that different airlines may have different requirements, and should double-check to ensure their testing arrangements will be satisfactory for all their travel plans.
Guests to Pay for Tests After February 1, 2022
Cruise passengers for sailings departing after February 1, 2022, will be responsible for the costs of their post-cruise testing, as Royal Caribbean will no longer cover the costs for guests on cruises after that date. Testing costs vary depending on the port, the provider administering the test, and the type of test required. Antigen tests start at $105 and PCR tests start at $210.
Fees for COVID-19 tests must be paid directly to the provider, and payment methods may also vary.
Testing Requirements Continue to Evolve
As different countries adapt to the now widespread Omicron variant, it it likely that testing requirements for travelers will continue to evolve and change.
As a precaution, all travelers should stay updated on the requirements not only for pre-cruise testing, but also for air travel if necessary, as well as testing requirements for their home countries or any countries they may need to pass through as they travel to or from a cruise.
Noting where different tests can be administered, whether walk-ins are accepted or appointments are necessary, and when test results can be expected can all be helpful details for travelers to have on hand should testing requirements change at the last minute.