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Royal Caribbean gets CDC approval for Independence of the Seas to sail

13 Aug 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has successfully received permission for Independence of the Seas to sail from the U.S. government.

After completing her test cruise earlier this month, Royal Caribbean announced the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved the ship for service with paying passengers.

Independence received her Conditional Sailing Certificate from the CDC, which means the ship is ready to sail with passengers on August 15.

Just last week, Royal Caribbean received a Conditional Sailing Certificate for Allure of the Seas.

This certificate is the final phase of the CDC's phased approach, known as the Conditional Sail Order (CSO), to allowing cruise ships to resume operations from the United States, and is yet another ship in the fleet to get approval by the U.S. government to sail.

Independence of the Seas completed her test cruise from Galveston on August 1st.

This is now the fifth ship to get approval from the CDC to restart cruises, following Freedom, Serenade, Ovation, and Odyssey of the Seas.

Independence will offer 7-night Western Caribbean sailings from Galveston, Texas.

Read more8 things to love about Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas

For cruises departing Galveston, Texas in August 2021 onboard Independence of the Seas, Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older must present proof of Covid-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing.

All crew onboard Independence of the Seas will be fully vaccinated.

All unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 must undergo 2 more COVID-19 tests at the cruise terminal and prior to disembarking.

Guests under 2 years of age will not be tested.

Royal Caribbean has also outlined the mask rules for guests onboard Independence of the Seas in August that are age 2 and up:

Masks are NOT required to be worn:

  • In open-air areas of the ship, unless you are in a crowded setting.
  • In the pool or any activity where they may become wet.
  • At venues designated for vaccinated guests only, such as select bars, lounges, restaurants and shows.
  • In your stateroom when you are with your traveling party.
  • While visiting our private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless you are in a crowded setting.
  • By any guest under the age of 2.

Masks ARE required to be worn:

  • While indoors onboard the ship, unless seated and actively eating or drinking.
  • While visiting public ports of call, where local regulations may require them.

Dining & Lounges
In the Main Dining Room, which spans multiple decks, we will designate areas for everyone, including parents and unvaccinated children, and areas for vaccinated parties only. My Time Dining will not be available to parties that include unvaccinated guests.

Most specialty restaurants will be open to everyone, while a few will be for vaccinated parties only. If you prefer a buffet, Windjammer will be open to everyone for breakfast and lunch, and the food will be served by our crew.

Grab-and-go cafes will also be available for everyone.

Theaters and activity venues will offer spaced seating with options for everyone and for vaccinated guests only. 

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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