Other Cruise Lines Recent Updates To Testing And Vaccination Protocols
Other brands like Carnival Cruises and MSC Cruises followed suit with very similar updates to their testing protocols as Royal Caribbean.
However, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings , parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas cruises, was the first to update its vaccination requirements in addition to testing requirements.
On August 8th, NCLH announced revisions to its SailSAFE health and safety protocols which further align the Company to the broader travel, leisure, and hospitality industry worldwide.
Vaccinated guests aged 12 and over will no longer have any pre-cruise COVID-19 related protocols. Further, unvaccinated guests may embark with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure, subject to local regulations.
This policy goes into effect across Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises for all sailings that commence on or after September 3, 2022.
The Company does note that requirements may differ for guests traveling on voyages departing from or visiting destinations with specific local regulations, including but not limited to Canada, Greece, and Bermuda.
What Other Changes Can You Expect
Additional health and safety measures include our fully vaccinated crew, testing, the robust onboard ventilation system and enhanced cleaning.
“As we work to finalize these measures for cruises departing from U.S. ports, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well state and local authorities, our goal is to fully comply with federal, state and local laws, as we always have. Royal Caribbean International will continue to evaluate and update its health and safety measures as circumstances evolve and in compliance with federal, state and local government and health authorities.”
Many Cruise Lines Have Rolled Back Testing Rules
Royal Caribbean Group, parent company of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity, also rolled back its testing requirements this month, following the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. The company requires vaccinated passengers to take a test only on sailings six nights or longer, but testing is still required for unvaccinated passengers on all sailings.
Many other cruise line operators and brands made similar protocol changes, including Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.
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Royal Caribbean To Welcome Unvaccinated Cruisers On Most Sailings
A little more than a week after dropping vaccination requirements on some cruises, Royal Caribbean has opened up most of its sailings to unvaccinated cruisers.
Starting September 5, unvaccinated guests can cruise with a negative result from any commercially available COVID-19 test, including self-tests. The only exception are on sailings to or from Canada, Bermuda, Australia and Singapore.
Additionally, no COVID-19 testing is required for vaccinated guests on sailings of nine nights or less. Previously, testing was required for sailings of six nights or longer. Anyone sailing on a cruise of 10 nights or longer will need to provide proof of a negative test result taken within three days of their sail date.
For all sailings, kids 5 years and younger have no vaccine or testing requirements.
Getting Ready To Cruise From Barcelona Spain England And The Netherlands
Here are the latest protocols for our guests sailing from Barcelona, Spain, England and the Netherlands. Due to the fluidity of this situation, our protocols are subject to change and we are committed to keeping you informed if they do.
Guests should be sure to look into any requirements your own home country may have for exiting or re-entering its borders.
It is recommended that guests are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, if they are eligible.
While vaccination documents will not be required to board sailings, we will ask that you disclose your vaccination status to us prior to boarding . We recommend you bring your vaccination documents with you, in case local authorities or businesses in some destinations require it for entrance.
Some of the destinations we visit require guests to be up to date with their vaccination status to go ashore. Those who do not meet these two requirements to be considered up to date may require additional testing onboard prior to going ashore in certain ports.
Up to Date Vaccination Status
For the best European cruise experience, we strongly recommend guests be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination per the European Medicines Agency .
To be considered up to date by all European countries we sail to, your vaccination must meet both of the following requirements.
Your most recent vaccine dose is on this list of EMA-approved vaccines:
For sailings that visit Greece:
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Royal Caribbean Clarifies Vaccine Policy Including Florida Cruises
Royal Caribbean clarifies its vaccine policy, especially for sailings that will depart out of Florida this summer.
As Royal Caribbean works on resuming operations from the U.S. and with plenty of questions about the vaccine policy from guests, the cruise line clarifies its plan and the different vaccine requirements depending on where ships are sailing from.
Exceptions To The New Regulation
The rule does not apply to crew, contractors and any “non-revenue passenger” under the protocol previously agreed upon between the government and cruise lines. The rule is also moot when a cruise ship is attempting to enter port in an emergency and when a passenger has a medical reason for why they are unvaccinated.
Passengers entering the Bahamas on a cruise ship are also subject to testing requirements mandated by the cruise line and given approval by the “Competent Authority.”
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Vaccination Still Not A Free Pass To Board
Once the vaccination was developed and approved, it became part of the CDC guidelines for cruise line adult passengers to have their vaccination before boarding. Even with a vaccination, guests still needed to test before they boarded the cruise lines. As the vaccine was approved for younger age groups, those age groups were then also required to have the vaccine to travel. Passengers were required to be fully vaccinated unless they are exempt by some status.
Before boarding, cruise line passengers who tested positive, as well as their travel companions, were not allowed to board, depending on the cruise line and how long the cruise may be. Some passengers were allowed to board and then isolate, others would have to reschedule their trip. Trip insurance is a good buy these days.
Royal Caribbean Drops Vaccine Requirements In Multiple Locations
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Kevin P. Curran
Royal Caribbean is no longer requiring vaccines to depart from ports in California, Louisiana, Texas, and any country in Europe come September.
The company announced that while it still âstrongly recommendsâ that guests be fully vaccinated, it will no longer be required as of September 5. Royal Caribbean indicated that it will still âask that you disclose your vaccination statusâ¦during check-in,â but no proof will be demanded by the cruise line. The documents may still be required by local destinations along cruise routes.
âSome of the destinations we visit require guests to be âup to dateâ with their vaccination status to go ashore,â the cruise operator explained. âThose who do not meet these two requirements to be considered âup to dateâ may require additional testing onboard prior to going ashore in certain ports.â
Read more on Carnival Cruiseâs recent actions to loosen restrictions.
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Getting Ready To Cruise From Us Homeports Including Puerto Rico
WITH NO STOPS IN BERMUDA
Here are the latest protocols for our guests sailing from U.S. home ports. Protocols are subject to change and we are committed to keeping you informed if they do. Whenever possible we will provide prior notice for any changes. Just the same, we’ll let you know if any requirements are reduced or eliminated.
Guests traveling into the U.S. from another country should be sure to look into any requirements your own home country may have for exiting or re-entering its borders.
Note: U.S. Cruises that visit Bermuda If your sailing visits Bermuda, see your protocols here.
It is recommended that guests are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, if they are eligible. While vaccination documents will not be required to board, we will ask that you disclose your vaccination status to us prior to boarding . We recommend that you bring your vaccination documents with you, as local authorities or businesses in some destinations require it for entrance.
Guests of 5 and up who are not fully vaccinated must bring a negative test result for a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within the 3 days before boarding day, regardless the duration of their cruise.
On sailings of 10 night or longer, fully vaccinated guests aged 5 and up must bring a negative test result for a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within the 3 days before boarding day. Testing is not required for fully vaccinated guests on itineraries of 9 nights or fewer.
Royal Caribbean Vaccine Policy
One of the main aspects of resuming cruise operations safely is to sail unvaccinated or fully vaccinated sailings and follow the guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Now that cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, are starting to bring ships back to service, different vaccine policies depend on where ships are sailing from.
Heres a simplified list of the policy depending on where cruise ships are departing from:
All crew members are to be fully vaccinated across the fleet and the cruise line and at the end of May, 6,000 of the crew had already received at least one shot.
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Cruise Lines Letting Loose On Vaccine Policies
Carnival Cruise Line has now removed pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests and also welcomes unvaccinated guests to travel. Fully vaccinated guests traveling less than 16 nights with the cruise line will no longer be subjected to testing, but still must provide proof of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated travelers will only need to provide a negative covid test result to board the ships. All rules and regulations are still subject to the destination countrys guidelines.
According to the Healthy Sail Center for Royal Caribbean , the cruise line has updated its covid vaccination protocol. The cruise line will now allow passengers regardless of vaccination status to board in some ports if the travelers meet the testing requirements. Testing requirements vary by cruise departure and destination. Check the cruise lines port departure for updated information on requirements.
There is, however, a major exception, at least for now, which is obvious when you look at the specific wording shared by the cruise line:
“Starting with September 5 departures, all travelers regardless of vaccination status can cruise on the following itineraries, as long as they meet any testing requirements to board.
- Cruises from Los Angeles, California.
- Cruises from Galveston, Texas.
- Cruises from New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Cruises from a European homeport.
Notice that Florida, a major port for the cruise line, is not currently on the list.
How The Emergency Order Will Work In The Bahamas
In order to dock, a cruise ship’s captain is required to transmit a “crew and passenger manifest” disclosing every person’s vaccination status to the Port Medical Officer before arrival.
All passengers age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at embarkation. Additionally, health protocol previously approved by the “Competent Authority” must be satisfied on board.
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What Requirements Are There For Guests Who Wish To Go Ashore In Ports Of Call Will I Be Required To Buy A Shore Excursion Can I Take An Independent Tour
Guests can visit most ports of call freely, regardless of vaccination status.
A handful of ports currently require guests to book a shore excursion to go ashore. See below to understand which ports require this.
Healthy Shore Excursions
Know that Royal Caribbean has worked with local tour operators to ensure they follow our Healthy Sail Panel health guidance for all Shore Excursions in all ports of call. These tours are available at a variety of price points and may be purchased in advance on Cruise Planner or once onboard using the Royal Caribbean App.
Requirements for Guests Departing on Round-Trip Cruises from all U.S. home ports, including San Juan, Puerto Rico
Currently there are no restrictions or required tours for any guest that is going ashore at public ports of call, or at our private destinations, regardless of vaccination status.
Requirements for going ashore are subject to change as circumstances evolve, and we will continue to updateâ¯booked guests of any requirements for their upcoming cruise.
Requirements for Cruises Departing from Europe & Israel
Tours are available at a variety of price points and may be purchased in advance on Cruise Planner or once onboard using the Royal Caribbean App.
Requirements for going ashore are subject to change as circumstances evolve, and we will continue to updateâ¯booked guests of any requirements for their upcoming cruise.â¯
Royal Caribbean Vaccine Requirement Update
The cruise line has announced a further easing of its protocols by dropping the vaccine requirements on select sailings from September 5, 2022. This easing applies to certain departures out of Los Angeles in California, Galveston in Texas, New Orleans in Louisiana, and cruises in Europe.
Royal Caribbean said in a letter to travel agents, Here at Royal Caribbean, you can trust we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit. We continue to work with our destination partners to evolve our protocols and align with the broader travel industry, as we transition to the point that everyone can vacation with us.
This now means that regardless of vaccination status, guests can cruise on the select sailings, as long as they meet any testing requirements.
For cruises out of Galveston and New Orleans that visit Grand Cayman, only passengers that show a valid vaccination record can go ashore. When it comes to the select European cruises, unvaccinated guests will have to take a test onboard to be allowed ashore in Greece or Spain.
Guests will still need to follow the pre-cruise testing requirements. For departures five nights or less out of Los Angeles and Galveston, unvaccinated guests aged 2 and over must show a negative test result to sail. Vaccinated guests, regardless of age, no longer need to test for the shorter sailings.
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It’s A Balance Between Business And Safety
Royal Caribbean has to walk a difficult line as it needs to attract as many people as possible to sail on its ships while also at least making it seem like it’s concerned about health and safety. Ideally, the cruise line wants all of its passengers to be vaccinated and to properly test, but it needs to fill its cabins in order to return to pre-pandemic normals.
CEO Jason Liberty has tried to balance those concerns and talked about the CDC program changes during Royal Caribbean’s second-quarter earnings call. These comments were made before the cruise line had dropped its vaccine requirement.
“The other major milestone for the group and the industry is related to the CDC ending its program for cruise ships as we are now transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us,” he said. “As we’ve always said, the health and safety of our guests, crew, and communities we visit are our top priority, and cruising has proven to be one of the safest environments anywhere.”
The CEO went on to make a comparison to other travel businesses.
“After two years of successfully working with us, the CDC has transitioned from enforcing protocols and policies for the cruise industry to suggestions and recommendations to be in line with the travel and tourism sector,” he added.
Liberty also pointed out a key sign of recovery for the company and maybe the entire industry.
Royal Caribbean Current Protocols
Starting with September 5th departures, all travelers, regardless of vaccination status can cruise on the following itineraries, as long as they meet any testing requirements to board.
- Cruises from Los Angeles, California
- Cruises from Galveston, Texas
- Cruises from New Orleans, Louisiana
- Cruises from a European homeport
At the time of publication, all cruises six nights or longer out of Galveston and Los Angeles requires all guests aged 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 3 days of the sail date.
Vaccination requirements remain in place until further notice for any homeport not mentioned above.
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Getting Ready To Cruise From Vancouver
Here are the latest protocols for our guests sailing Vancouver, British Columbia. Protocols are subject to change and we are committed to keeping you informed if they do. Whenever possible we will provide prior notice for any changes. Just the same, we’ll let you know if any requirements are reduced or eliminated.
Guests traveling into Canada from another country should be sure to look into any requirements your own home country may have for exiting or re-entering its borders.
All Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with the final dose administered at least 14 days before sailing.
Children age 11 and under do not require COVID-19 vaccination to cruise but if your kids are vaccinated, they can follow the test guidance for vaccinated guests.
Each guests regimen must include at least two doses of vaccine unless the guest received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
A Certificate of Recovery is not acceptable in lieu of full vaccination.
All crew onboard the ship and at our private destinations are fully vaccinated and receive a booster dose as they become eligible.
All Guests: Required Pre-Cruise Testing
Before arriving on boarding day, youll need to take a COVID-19 test on your own, at your own expense, to meet boarding requirements in line with U.S. CDC guidance.
Have questions about which tests are accepted?Read Our Detailed FAQ On Accepted Tests