The Covid-19 protocols are not easy to track across the board, but the amount of time before a cruise you need a test can be among the most easily confused.
Over the last few weeks, I've noticed a lot of posts across the internet mentioning needing a negative Covid test and causing issues for some when they think they need to match up their check-in time with what time their test is taken.
In an effort to simply explain what's needed, here is a quick explanation of when you need to get your negative Covid-19 test before your Royal Caribbean cruise.
When you need to take your test
First and foremost, Royal Caribbean says you need to get your test done in calendar days, not hours. So it does not matter at all what time your test is taken versus your check-in time.
Perhaps the notion of 48 hours comes from someone assuming 2 days and 48 hours are the same thing, but it has lead to confusion about what time of day you need to take your Covid test to ensure it is acceptable.
When you check-in for your cruise at the cruise terminal, the only things the staff will look at is:
- If you are negative
- What day you took the test
- Type of test
- Who administered the test
- Name on the test to match your travel documents
Once again, the time of day the test was taken is irrelevant. As long as it was two calendar days for vaccinated passengers (or three for unvaccinated kids) before embarkation, the test will be acceptable from a time taken standpoint.
Cruises sailing from U.S. homeports
For fully vaccinated guests, passengers need to get their negative Covid-19 test taken up to two days before their cruise.
This means if your cruise leaves on a Sunday, you can get your test taken on Friday, Saturday, or even Sunday.
For unvaccinated kids, you have up to three days before your cruise to get a Covid-19 test taken.
Kids could get their test done on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday for a Sunday departure. One difference is kids cannot get a test taken the same day their cruise departs because that may affect the sample taken during the kids’ test at the terminal.
Guests under 2 years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test.
Cruises sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico
The rules are a bit different for cruises from other ports outside the mainland United States, such as Puerto Rico.
If you’re flying in from the U.S.
- Vaccinated guests have no testing requirement to enter Puerto Rico.
- Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.
If you’re flying in from an international country
All travelers age 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.
If you are already in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico does not require a test from you.
Guests under 2 years of age do not have test requirements to enter Puerto Rico.
Cruises sailing from Barbados
All travelers age 5 and older require a negative PCR COVID-19 test result to fly into Barbados regardless of vaccination status. The test must be taken within the 3 days before the day you fly into the country. You must upload the result to Barbados’ online Immigration/Customs Form, and show it to authorities upon arriving. Learn more about island entry requirements at Visit Barbados.
Unvaccinated kids age 2 to 11 years of age must show a negative PCR COVID-19 test result at the cruise terminal for a test taken no more than 3 days before the day you board the ship. If timed properly, the same PCR test result provided for entry into Barbados can satisfy this requirement.