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Royal Caribbean releases updated health protocols for cruise ships through April 14, 2022

In:
24 Feb 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has updated its health protocols for cruises sailing through April 14, 2022 in order to match the cruise line's decision to opt into the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) voluntary cruise program.

Wonder of the Seas night lit up

In an email to guests and travel agents, Royal Caribbean issued new health protocols that apply to all cruises sailing from the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Barbados between February 25, 2022 and April 14, 2022

Royal Caribbean says this update reflects the, "government mandates, the changes based on our voluntary opt-in to the US CDC Cruise Program, plus shore excursion requirements for unvaccinated children and their families."

Royal Caribbean also said that protocols are still subject to change, due to the fluidity of the situation with Covid.

Here's a look at the latest protocols.

Covid-19 booster

Michael Bayley addresses concerns of requiring Covid-19 vaccine on Royal Caribbean ships | Royal Caribbean Blog

While currently not required as a condition to sail, the US CDC has recommended COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for those eligible, prior to cruise travel.

Royal Caribbean, "strongly recommends" guests get boosted before their cruise.

Vaccine requirements

Celebrity Cruises will accept mixed vaccines following CDC update | Royal Caribbean Blog

All guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.

Children aged 5 to 11 are not required to be vaccinated, however, as they are eligible, Royal Caribbean recommends they receive their vaccine before sailing.

Children with one dose of a vaccine do not count as fully vaccinated for the purpose of the sailing. 

Face masks

Here's Royal Caribbean's new optional mask policy | Royal Caribbean Blog

Masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests. 

Unvaccinated children should expect to continue wearing masks indoors and in crowded settings.

Masks are required for all children age 2 and older while at the Adventure Ocean youth program.

Guests under 2 do not have to wear a mask at any time. 

Adventure Ocean Youth Program Reservations

6 questions we still have after Royal Caribbean released new health guidelines | Royal Caribbean Blog

For the first time, Royal Caribbean has included Adventure Ocean children's programming as part of the protocol release.

These spaces will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.

Royal Caribbean asks that guests make a reservation before bringing their child to Adventure Ocean on port days the ship is in port — just stop by Adventure Ocean on boarding day to reserve time, or throughout your cruise.

Dining

Cruise FAQ: Dining | Royal Caribbean Blog

In the Main Dining Room, vaccinated guests may dine with other vaccinated guests outside their travel party. Parties that include unvaccinated kids will be assigned a table of their own.

Royal Caribbean recommends making reservations for dining before the cruise or via the app while onboard.

Vaccinated venues

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Previously designated "vaccinated zones" are being removed.

This means no more vaccinated zones in the theater, spa, or gym, among other locations.

Shore excursions

How to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion | Royal Caribbean Blog

Families traveling with unvaccinated kids are required to purchase a tour through Royal Caribbean to go ashore (except at private destinations, Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee).

Some ports require all guests, regardless of vaccination status, to purchase tours through Royal Caribbean. These tours follow our health guidance and are available at a variety of prices. 

Pre-cruise Covid-19 test

The email made no mention of Covid-19 tests before the cruise, but the policy remains unchanged on Royal Caribbean's website.

Cruises from U.S. homeports (except Puerto Rico)

Miami-Dade officials slam CDC for slow response to cruise lines to restarting | Royal Caribbean Blog

  • Pre-Cruise: All guests 2 years and older must present a negative COVID-19 test result.
    • Vaccinated guests ages 12 years and over: PCR or antigen test must be taken no more than 2 days prior to sailing.
    • Unvaccinated children ages 2 to 11 years: PCR test must be taken no more than 3 days prior to sailing — but not on boarding day. Antigen tests are not accepted for unvaccinated guests.
    • No testing required for guests under age 2.
    • Pre-cruise testing costs and scheduling are the guest's responsibility.  

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

Onboard: For sailings that are 5 nights or longer, unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 will take a complimentary antigen test prior to debark. Sailings longer than 10 nights may have additional onboard testing requirements. Registration details will be provided onboard.

Cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico

Oasis of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - San Juan | Royal Caribbean Blog

     

    • Entry to Puerto Rico:
      • All guests unvaccinated guests 2 years and older will need a PCR or antigen test for entry.
      • Guests arriving from non-US countries (regardless of vaccination status) will need to provide a negative result from a PCR or antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to boarding a flight to Puerto Rico.
    • Pre-Cruise: All guests 2 years and older — regardless of vaccination status — must present a negative COVID-19 test result in order to sail. Your client's entry test can meet this requirement as long as it falls into the appropriate timeframe. 
      • Unvaccinated children ages 2 to 11: will need to show proof of a negative test result from a PCR test taken no more than 3 days prior to our sail date — but not on boarding day. Antigen tests are not accepted for unvaccinated guests.
      • Vaccinated guests 12 years and older: will need to show proof of a negative result from a PCR or antigen test taken no more than 2 days prior to our sail date. If for any reason guests can’t arrange this test prior to sailing, Royal Caribbean has port testing available for scheduling here.
      • No testing required for guests under age 2.
    • Pre-cruise testing costs and scheduling are the guest's responsibility.
    • Embarkation Day: In addition to the pre-cruise test requirement, unvaccinated guests 2 to 11 years old will be required to take a complimentary embarkation day antigen test. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.
    • Prior to disembarking: Unvaccinated guests 2 to 11 years old will take an antigen test prior to debarking in San Juan. 
      • ​For re-entry into guest's home country, guests may require proof of a negative COVID-19 test. If needed, we’ll offer complimentary testing on Day 5 or 6 of the cruise. Testing details will be provided onboard.
      • Please note, the test results will also be shared with Royal Caribbean International. This will let us help guests plan the next steps of their cruise and keep them informed. Royal Caribbean may also share the results with third parties, such as public authorities and health care providers.
    • Post-Cruise: If a guest is staying in Puerto Rico after the cruise, or they live in Puerto Rico, an additional test will be needed.
      • Residents of Puerto Rico ages 2 years and older regardless of vaccination status, guests must take a COVID-19 test, at their own expense, after the cruise and upload their results on the TravelSafe Declaration within 48 hours of departing the ship.
      • Non-residents ages 2 years and older regardless of vaccination status, non-residents extending their stay in Puerto Rico after sailing must complete a COVID-19 test after their cruise, and upload the results to Puerto Rico's TravelSafe Declaration form within 24 hours of departing the ship. Guests will be provided a complimentary test kit for this purpose.
      • Please Note: Failure to meet this requirement can result in a $300 USD fine from Puerto Rico authorities.
    • Quarantine: Unvaccinated travelers intending to stay in Puerto Rico before or after their cruise are now required to complete a quarantine period of 7 days. However, if a guest arrives in Puerto Rico on cruise boarding day, and depart Puerto Rico on the same day the cruise ends, a local quarantine is not required.
      • Quarantine Before: If guests arrive in Puerto Rico 1 or more days prior to their cruise, any unvaccinated guests ages 2 years and up in the travel party must remain in quarantine for those days. These guests may only leave to head directly to the cruise terminal for check-in on boarding day.
      • Quarantine After: Any unvaccinated non-residents ages 2 years and up extending their stay in Puerto Rico post-cruise must quarantine for up to 7 days. If a guest’s flight departs prior to the completion of the 7 days, they must remain in the hotel and may only leave to proceed directly to the airport on the day of your flight.

    Vaccine and Testing protocols for cruises from Bridgetown, Barbados

    What you need to know about visiting Barbados on a cruise ship | Royal Caribbean Blog

    • Due to the requirements of destinations on our Barbados itineraries, Royal Caribbean can only accept vaccines that are authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
    • Guests under the age of 12 years, who are considered fully vaccinated, should follow the guidance for vaccinated guests below. Children with one dose of a vaccine do not count as fully vaccinated for the purpose of our sailing. The only mixed MRNA vaccines accepted are combinations of Pfizer and Moderna.
    • Entry to Barbados: Guests must follow Barbados’ COVID-19 Travel Guidelines. All guests 5 years and older — regardless of vaccination status — must present a negative PCR test result taken no more than 3 days prior to arriving in Barbados. 
    • Pre-cruise: All unvaccinated guests 2 - 11 years old must present a negative PCR test result no more than 3 days prior to sailing.
    • Embarkation Day: All guests 2 years and older — regardless of vaccination status — are required to take a complimentary embarkation day antigen test and receive a negative test result. Registration details will be sent via email in advance for the antigen test at the terminal.
    • No testing required for guests under age 2.
    • Prior to disembarking: Guests 2 years and older will be provided with a complimentary antigen test to re-enter Barbados.
    • For re-entry into a guest’s home country, proof of a negative COVID-19 test may be required. More details will be provided once onboard.

    Bracelets

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    Royal Caribbean informed travel agents that they will no longer be using bracelets to identify vaccinated guests.

    Under the CDC guideline for Highly Vaccinated sailings, with at least 95% of guests fully vaccinated, the ships are considered a vaccinated community, so identification via bracelets is not required.