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Royal Caribbean changes Covid-19 vaccine requirements for cruise ships

22 May 2021
Matt Hochberg

It looks like Royal Caribbean will be requiring a Covid-19 vaccine for passengers on its cruises.

Royal Caribbean updated its vaccine requirements page with new information that not only requires the Covid-19 vaccine, but also changed the minimum age for guest to be vaccinated in order to sail.

On Royal Caribbean's website, there are now rules for cruises departing from the United States or Bahamas, and rules for cruises sailing from other international ports.

Vaccine requirements for U.S. or Bahamas cruises

On U.S. or Bahamas sailings departing on or before August 1, Royal Caribbean will require all guests guests age 16 and older must complete all doses of their Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days before their sailing. 

On U.S. or Bahamas sailings departing after August 1, the age requirement for vaccination will change from 16 to 12 years of age. 

This means Royal Caribbean has dropped the minimum age for guests to be fully vaccinated on the Adventure of the Seas sailings from Nassau, Bahamas from 18 to 16, and eventually 12.

Guests booked on Adventure of the Seas this summer received an email from the cruise line confirming the change.

For anyone booked on a U.S. or Bahamas sailing that are younger than the minimum age to be vaccinated (i.e. children), will receive a SARS-Cov-2 test before boarding. If a guest younger than the age requirement happens to be fully vaccinated, they should bring their original vaccination record card to board, will not require a test, and should follow all vaccinated guest protocols throughout their vacation.

Royal Caribbean will also require proof of vaccination in addition to the usual travel documents to board the ship.

Acceptable proof of vaccination must be in the form of the original vaccination record document issued by the country’s health authority or healthcare provider that administered the vaccination (e.g., U.S. CDC's Vaccination Record Card).

The vaccination record submitted must show that the guest is fully vaccinated. This means that the guest has completed the full cycle of required doses for the vaccine administered (e.g., received the second dose in a two-dose series) and that the guest has received the final dose at least 14 days before arriving in The Bahamas or at their cruise departure terminal in the U.S.

International Cruises

Royal Caribbean will also require the Covid-19 vaccine of guests age 18 and older sailing from any other port, and they must have received all doses of the vaccine at least 14 days before the sailing.

Like the U.S. sailings, proof of being vaccinated must be provided in one of two forms:

  1. the country's health authority that administered the vaccination (e.g., U.S. CDC's Vaccination Record Card) 
  2. the guest's medical provider that administered the vaccination

Electronic vaccination records will only be accepted for residents of those countries where electronic documentation is the standard issued form (e.g., a unique QR code). 

Crew members

Royal Caribbean will continue its policy of requiring all of its crew members to be fully vaccinated.

In February 2021, Royal Caribbean announced it would pursue a policy of requiring its crew members to be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean has been bringing its ships systematically into ports in Texas and Florida to get crew members vaccinated.

Other cruise lines requiring the vaccine

Royal Caribbean is the latest cruise line to move towards requiring its passengers to be vaccinated in order to cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line made the decision to require 100% of its guests and crew to be vaccinated back in April 2021. Carnival just announced for its cruises to Alaska this year, guests will need to be fully vaccinated.

Many other lines have announced similar policies, including Virgin Voyages, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and more.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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