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Royal Caribbean will no longer let passengers get on or off the cruise ship at a different port of call

In:
15 Dec 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean won't let you embark the ship at a different port of call or leave the ship earlier during your cruise.

The policy on the cruise line's downline embarkation has changed, according to an update sent to travel agents via email.

Up until now, passengers were able to request to embark or disembark at a port of call other than the scheduled embarkation/disembarkation port.

"Down lining" was on a request basis only, subject to consideration and approval by Royal Caribbean.  While they used to allow down lining, they also  discouraged it due to implications resulting from unscheduled itinerary changes and weather/sea conditions, which would have resulted in missing a guest's port of embarkation/debarkation. 

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Royal Caribbean will no longer allow cruise passengers to pre-plan early debark or late embarkation for any of our ships.

Why the change? As many countries continue to enforce travel restrictions, Royal Caribbean says the decision was made "in an abundance of caution for the safety and security of our guests." 

Should guests who reserved flights through Royal Caribbean's Air2Sea program experience delays in air travel that result in missed cruise embarkation, downlining to a future port-of-call remains an option as long as the guest is fully vaccinated and able to show proof of required Covid-19 test results prior to boarding.

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Here is the full statement by Royal Caribbean:

“Royal Caribbean will no longer allow cruise passengers to pre-plan early debark or late embarkation for any of our ships. As many countries continue to enforce travel restrictions, this decision was made in an abundance of caution for the safety and security of our guests."

"Should guests who reserved flights through our Air2Sea program experience delays in air travel that result in missed cruise embarkation, downlining to a future port-of-call remains an option as long as the guest is fully vaccinated and able to show proof of required COVID-19 test results prior to boarding.”

Why would someone want to down line?

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Joining a cruise ship after the cruise begins or leaving it before it ends sounds like an odd thing to want to do, but it happens more often than you might think.

A common reason to join the ship down line is if you miss the embarkation for some reason, or if at the end of the cruise you need or prefer to depart early for convenience.

Quite often it was used by someone who found a different port of call made it more convenient to join or depart the ship than where the cruise was scheduled to begin or end.

One of many Covid protocols

Over the past few weeks, Royal Caribbean has updated many policies as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some other recent actions include banning smoking in the casino, stricter mask rules, cutting off complimentary international Covid-19 tests and more.

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Based on these changes, it appears the cruise line is looking to limit risk, as well as reduce the demand on crew members for certain functions.

The elimination of down lining not only cuts down on paperwork for the ship, but helps maintain the "bubble" approach to cruising in terms of limiting outside Covid-19 exposures.

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