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Royal Caribbean releases cruise ship health protocols for U.S. sailings October 16-31, 2021

21 Sep 2021
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has released its health protocols for cruises departing the second half of October 2021 from ports in the United States.

The cruise line had released October protocols for sailings in the first half of the month, but now we have the protocols for the second half.

These protocols apply to any Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing from a U.S. homeport between October 16-31, 2021.

Here is what Royal Caribbean has planned for passengers sailing in the second half of October.


Spotted: Royal Caribbean adds new way to add Covid-19 vaccine card in its app | Royal Caribbean Blog

All guests 12 years and older must bring proof of vaccination, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination record card, with the final dose of the vaccine completed at least 14 days prior to sailing.


When do you have to take a Covid test before your Royal Caribbean cruise? | Royal Caribbean Blog


All guests 2 years and older must present a negative PCR or antigen test result.

  • Vaccinated guests ages 12 and over, test must be taken no more than 2 days prior to sailing.
  • Unvaccinated children ages 2 to 11, test must be taken no more than 3 days prior to sailing — but not on boarding day.
  • No testing required for guests under age 2.

Pre-cruise testing costs and scheduling are the guest's responsibility.

When do you have to take a Covid test before your Royal Caribbean cruise? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Embarkation Day

Unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 will take a complimentary PCR test for COVID-19 during check-in. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.


Unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 will take a complimentary antigen test prior to debark. Depending on sailing length, there may be additional testing. Registration details will be provided onboard. 

Shore Excursions

Families traveling with unvaccinated kids are required to purchase a tour through Royal Caribbean to go ashore, except at Perfect Day at CocoCay.


Coast Guard wont fine you for not wearing a mask on a cruise ship, but you will get kicked off | Royal Caribbean Blog

Masks are required in the terminal, in select locations inside the ship, and may be required at various destinations. Guests under 2 years old don’t need a mask.

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 Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless you are in a crowded setting.
  • By any guest under the age of 2.

Where and when will you have to wear a mask on a Royal Caribbean cruise? | Royal Caribbean Blog

Masks ARE required to be worn:

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

Some venues and nightlife events will be for vaccinated guests age 12 and up, only. Masks won't be required in these venues. Vaccinated parents are invited to enjoy these experiences while their kids are at Adventure Ocean. 


Odyssey of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

The Main Dining Room has areas for all parties (vaccinated and those with unvaccinated children.) My Time Dining will not be available to unvaccinated children.

Windjammer buffet and Grab-and-go cafes are open to everyone for breakfast and lunch and crew members will serve you.

Some specialty restaurants are for vaccinated parties only. 

Other venues

Odyssey of the Seas Live Blog | Royal Caribbean Blog

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

Spa services, except those offered in treatment rooms, are available to everyone.

The Fitness Center has operating hours for everyone as well as hours reserved for vaccinated guests only. 


If booked guests do not wish to follow these protocols and are booked on a cruise sailing in late October, Royal Caribbean will offer a refund or move their sailing into the future when circumstances may have evolved.