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Royal Caribbean will charge unvaccinated cruise passengers for tests and have different protocols

09 Jun 2021
Matt Hochberg

If you aren't vaccinated, your Royal Caribbean cruise will likely cost you more than if you are fully vaccinated.

During a webinar with travel agents, Royal Caribbean said it plans on handling unvaccinated guests differently, which may include extra costs and different protocols onboard.

Royal Caribbean will not mandate the Covid-19 vaccine due to the fact they are a family cruise line, but local laws in Florida and Texas make verifying who is or who is not fully vaccinated difficult.

Royal Caribbean cautioned their plans could change, but as of now, unvaccinated passengers sailing from Florida can expect extra testing costs that will not be part of the cruise fare.

    • Guests who are 16 years of age or older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and those 12 or older as of Aug. 1 
    • It is strongly recommended that guests set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible. Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing, be responsible for any expenses incurred and follow other protocols. These expenses are still being finalized. 
    • Vaccine requirements are being finalized based on state law. 

In addition, other health protocols may be mandated for them.

Rules for cruises from Texas are still being discussed.

Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed, explained the current plan, "Cruises from Florida: It is strongly recommended that guests set sail fully vaccinated if they are eligible.

"Those who are unvaccinated, or unable to verify vaccination, will be required to undergo testing, and they will be responsible for any expenses incurred and follow other protocols. These expenses are still being finalized."

She said exact costs are not known yet because it is will being worked out.

Ms. Freed said protocols for cruises from Texas are "being finalized". Texas just passed a law prohibiting local businesses from asking for proof of vaccination, similar to Florida's law.

Royal Caribbean's policy mirrors what Celebrity Cruises announced yesterday, when they indicated unvaccinated guests will be able to sail, but there are implications to doing so.

It also follows up on what Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO said earlier this week in a video update, when he disclosed unvaccinated passengers would have different rules, "due to the health and legal requirements of many jurisdictions, those who are unvaccinated will need to undergo additional testing and other restrictions. That necessarily adds to their cost, and adds limitations on the cruise for those people who choose to be unvaccinated."

Mr. Fain added that there would be no additional costs for children who are not eligible for the vaccine.