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That is how I read it.  

Next up, what are additional protocols?  Likely Pre Boarding and possible post boarding covid test.  Masks and maybe less access to the vaccinated only areas of the ship, that last part is pure speculation and can't imagine how that would work. 

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Let's go back to Fain's videos/news of RCL's zoom calls with TAs 3-4w ago. Fain made it clear that vaccinations would not be required on most RCL sailings to protect RCL's commitment to families. Once the Alaska thing got ramped up, in order to insure ships could make the Alaska sailings, RCL chose to by-pass test cruises and go the 98/95 route. This isn't new.

On ship board protocols for a hybrid passenger manifests: RCL released it's masking guidance for hybrid passenger manifest Bermuda sailings Friday. That precipitated a Home Page story by Matt and a message board post. In that thread, you'll find this:

Here's what RCL says are mask requirements for unvaccinated guests:

  • Masks are not required in open-air areas onboard the ship or at Perfect Day at CocoCay unless you are in a crowded setting. Masks are not permitted in the pool or for any activity where they could become wet.
  • Indoors: Masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces onboard the ship unless seated and actively eating or drinking. Masks are not required in your stateroom as long as you are with your own travel party.
  • In public ports: Local mask and distancing requirements at public ports of call must be followed.
  • Guests under age 2 do not need to wear a mask at any time.

 @Jennifer Burke post above clarifies the boarding protocols. From all the previous info, you can surmise what RCL will be adding to it's pre-pandemic health and safety protocols for ships sailing with hybrid manifests from US ports. 

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9 minutes ago, JeffB said:

Let's go back to Fain's videos/news of RCL's zoom calls with TAs 3-4w age. Fain made it clear that vaccinations would not be required on most RCL sailings to protect RCL's commitment to families. Once the Alaska thing got ramped up, in order to insure ships could make the Alaska sailings, RCL chose to by-pass test cruises and go the 98/95 route. This isn't new.

I guess I took Fain’s comments in those videos differently. I thought he was suggesting vaccinations would be required initially except in cases where they weren’t available or possible (he mentioned kids, medical, and religious reasons). This is why they wouldn’t reach 95%. I believe yesterday’s “flip” on vaccinations is entirely due to the Florida law that they weren’t able to find a way around or compromise with the governor.

I’m glad we made the switch to Adventure as I feel safer with my family cruising with 16 and up being vaccinated. It also eliminates the need to differentiate between the two groups (kids are easier to identify). Just hoping all cruises go off without a hitch, regardless of these policies. 

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2 hours ago, Biff215 said:

I guess I took Fain’s comments in those videos differently. I thought he was suggesting vaccinations would be required initially except in cases where they weren’t available or possible (he mentioned kids, medical, and religious reasons). This is why they wouldn’t reach 95%. I believe yesterday’s “flip” on vaccinations is entirely due to the Florida law that they weren’t able to find a way around or compromise with the governor

I did too.

I think @JeffB is right that Fain's comments now make sense given what RC has said, but I was very surprised nonetheless they aren't requiring it.

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35 minutes ago, Marlena said:

will they be marking unvaccinated adults to be able to tell if they are complying??

or will it be honor system?

My guess is vaccinated individuals be given colored bands to mark you are vaccinated and thus have special privileges... VIP badge or something.  You don't want to "mark" unvaccinated passengers since  they can easily become "vaccinated passengers" by removing their band.

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8 minutes ago, Jverge said:

My guess is vaccinated individuals be given colored bands to mark you are vaccinated and thus have special privileges... VIP badge or something.  You don't want to "mark" unvaccinated passengers since  they can easily become "vaccinated passengers" by removing their band.

This is a slippery slope in differentiating between certain passengers. Yes, they do it with C&A Status, but unless it's the Diamond/Suite lounge, or the Suite/Pinnacle Sun Deck, when has anyone "checked ID"? I do think Royal has given themselves an out (I'll call it kicking the proverbial protocol can down the pier), by saying protocols for sailings other than Adventure would be released at a later date.  

I've racked my brain, and I really only see 2 potential generalized scenarios; 

1) Identify Vaccinated guests (special wristband/seapass card, etc.) and allow them free roam of the ship (similar to Adventure's rules). Unvaccinated/Unverified passengers would have to submit to stringent protocols, similar to Quantum. There would have to be areas where Unvaccinated/Unverified passengers would not be permitted, in order to allow the vaccinated passengers to enjoy their cruise. (the problems here, are numerous and obvious)

2) Royal decides not to differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated/unverified guests ON BOARD. Those that did not provide proof of vaccination, would have to still be tested at boarding, etc.) but on board, everyone goes by some form of the Quantum/Royal Promise style protocols (Masks everywhere, physical distancing, limited hours, etc.) This option would be much easier to enforce. But I can definitely see Vaccinated persons be equally upset with this option. 

Royal knows they have passionate loyalists on both sides, and they're trying to find a middle ground based on the CDC, DeSantis and their own Healthy Sail Panel. I don't envy they're choices, and unfortunately, no matter what they finally end up deciding to do, they're going to lose loyal passengers. I truly hope they get this right. 

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The hybrid option is full of potential pitfalls to include guests who are vaccinated and confront unvaccinated and visa-versa, confusion among guests and crew, Titanic like class systems - these are already present to some degree but could be more problematic in this circumstance, who has to distance/mask and who doesn't isn't going to be clear unless there is a system like Hester Prynne wearing a scarlet A around her neck.

I find these things bound to be problematic turn-offs to cruising and something I would avoid by selecting sailings where vaccinations are required .... but I'm old and don't bring kids cruising with me. I agree with @Josh CI don't envy RCL's choices either. 

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People also need to keep in mind that royal has seen the amount of children under 12 on their booked summer sailings and realized that 95% vaccinated passengers was not going to happen and if they wanted to obtain that % they would have had to cancel even more cruises and then rebooked with vaccine requirement. Just one more logistical nightmare to deal with in an already challenging summer 

AND there is still a game of chicken with the FL law which may take awhile to be resolved. So as a business, do you really want to roll the dice that DeSantis “blinks” and carves out an exception for cruise lines. Celebrity is already taking that gamble when DeSantis is still digging his heels in and posturing.

lastly, royal wouldn’t be spending the amount of cash they are for test cruises if they had confidence in

a. That the could meet the CDC thresholds for summer sailings from FL. Alaska cruises are easier to meet because of less children 

b. That the FL law issue could be resolved in time for early July cruises

This is a matter of business now and of course, Royal wants to get cruising as fast as possible and can’t afford lose the month of July when they can take alternate measures.

but as mentioned, the biggest risk now with unvaccinated is an outbreak that would be an end to all cruises this summer 

 

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9 minutes ago, icf75 said:

You are aware that vaccinated people can still get it?

Yup.. that's why A) I won't go on a cruise in which vaccinations aren't required for everyone eligible and B) I will quarantine when I get home for 14 days. (I work from home, so that makes it doable, but with family w/pre-existing conditions, and weak immune systems, that's what I have to do). 

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32 minutes ago, UNCFanatik said:

People also need to keep in mind that royal has seen the amount of children under 12 on their booked summer sailings and realized that 95% vaccinated passengers was not going to happen and if they wanted to obtain that % they would have had to cancel even more cruises and then rebooked with vaccine requirement. Just one more logistical nightmare to deal with in an already challenging summer 

But how many of these families would be willing to risk their children on a ship with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. I think Fain's previous statements encouraged families that vaccinations for everyone eligible would be required and therefore would make the environment safer. I know several families that are now seriously re-considering going on their cruise this summer, solely because of this. 

At the end of the day, Royal has painted themselves into a no-win scenario. Their question now is, which decision costs them less current and future passengers.

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16 minutes ago, Josh C said:

But how many of these families would be willing to risk their children on a ship with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. I think Fain's previous statements encouraged families that vaccinations for everyone eligible would be required and therefore would make the environment safer. I know several families that are now seriously re-considering going on their cruise this summer, solely because of this. 

At the end of the day, Royal has painted themselves into a no-win scenario. Their question now is, which decision costs them less current and future passengers.

Definitely a no win situation for Royal with no easy answers for sure which DeSantis made it even more difficult in the short run. Government ruins everything from the CDC to the state of FL

You are right… limit your business to a portion of potential customers vs losing customers by making same decision. Hard to know which is more risky for business long term 

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31 minutes ago, Josh C said:

But how many of these families would be willing to risk their children on a ship with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. I think Fain's previous statements encouraged families that vaccinations for everyone eligible would be required and therefore would make the environment safer. I know several families that are now seriously re-considering going on their cruise this summer, solely because of this. 

At the end of the day, Royal has painted themselves into a no-win scenario. Their question now is, which decision costs them less current and future passengers.

In reality what is likely to be the percentage of unvaccinated if they lift the restriction?  I would imagine they would still be around 75% without the restriction.  Perhaps they could even develop a % that still makes it “safer”.  Similar to what the 95% cruises will need to do, but a lower number.  I don’t really understand your “risk” comment, but I live in Florida.  My kids have gone to in person classes all year without incident.  You do realize that even with requirements for vaccines all the under 12 kids would be coming into contact with other under 12 kids not vaccinated.  I don’t let my kids hang out with random 30 year olds in close proximity, so I’m not sure the “risk” is that much of a concern, but we have been to Disney and Universal several times, so….

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8 minutes ago, gatorskin76 said:

In reality what is likely to be the percentage of unvaccinated if they lift the restriction?  I would imagine they would still be around 75% without the restriction.  Perhaps they could even develop a % that still makes it “safer”.  Similar to what the 95% cruises will need to do, but a lower number.  I don’t really understand your “risk” comment, but I live in Florida.  My kids have gone to in person classes all year without incident.  You do realize that even with requirements for vaccines all the under 12 kids would be coming into contact with other under 12 kids not vaccinated.  I don’t let my kids hang out with random 30 year olds in close proximity, so I’m not sure the “risk” is that much of a concern, but we have been to Disney and Universal several times, so….

The families I've spoken too, after the year they've had, aren't willing to put their kids at that level of risk. That's their view. You have a different one. ?‍♂️

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I'm just going to do a little back of the envelope math here. Let's say that RCI recommends vaccines, but does not check or mandate them, and goes by the honor system. I'll use the current CDC vaccine data (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations). I'll also use the "At Least One Dose numbers, since the fully vaxed numbers should go up to around there by the time cruising starts. Obviously the later summer cruises will have more vaxed, but this is a starting point. 

Now I don't have any data on the demographics of Royal's cruisers, but I would wager that maybe 50% on a typical Caribbean cruise are over 50, with likely at least half of those over 65. Let's assume 40% of the ship is over 65. So then 40% of the ship is 86.1% vaxxed, assuming cruisers are a representative population (likely not perfect, but hey, we only have so much data). Let's assume the other 60% of the ship is 50% vaxxed. This should account for everyone under 65, and still being a bit conservative, as it will likely be higher. So now we're looking at a ship that is 64.4% vaccinated. That is a reasonably high percentage, as I know Biden's set goal was for 70% of the US to have one shot for things to go back to normal. If we account for existing immunity from infection, that number will go even higher. 

Another important factor is that the risk averse will likely either be vaccinated, protecting themselves, or decide not to cruise at all. Those who are less risk-averse have likely either already had COVID and now have immunity from infection, or they have strong immune systems that have prevented them, and will likely continue to prevent them from catching COVID. 

Obviously there are many variables that make this analysis imperfect, but overall, I think this would prevent major outbreaks. Doesn't mean there won't be an "OUTBREAK" as defined by the news media, but the media will latch onto anything that makes headlines, and even if all cruises sailed fully vaxxed and masks, I'm sure there will eventually be a couple cases and the media will be all over it. 

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1 hour ago, Josh C said:

The families I've spoken too, after the year they've had, aren't willing to put their kids at that level of risk. That's their view. You have a different one. ?‍♂️

If I thought there was risk, more than taking them to Publix, I wouldn’t put them at “risk”.  I don’t think it’s a question of our appetite for risk but more of a difference in the view of what risk exists.  But I agree with the general sentiment, to each their own.

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Businesses, including RCG (RCL, Celebrity), undoubtedly model risk. They have an objective probability that a single COVID infection or multiples (bad outcomes by degree) will occur on one ship. All the variables, including mitigation measures like vaccines, risk of infection by age cohort, can be identified, put into a computerized model and out pops a probability. Given a uniform set of mitigation measures, the more ships you sail, the higher the probability of a bad outcome.

It's not beyond the realm of possibility that RCG's operational plan - the number of ships that will sail, where they will sail from, which will be hybrids and which will be 95% vaxed - is based on an established threshold of risk. For example, one ship sails, 95% vaxed = <2% risk of a bad outcome. Ten ships sail, all hybrids = 10% risk of a bad outcome. Now pick a balance of ships defined by risk.

Next, add in how much money RCG wants to earn in July, for example, establish a risk threshold of 5%, voila the computer spits out an operational plan for the number and passenger mix of ships that will sail in July.

TBH, its likely this sort of business modeling is driving scheduling. It's not the CSO because compliance with it isn't variable. It's not the Desantis policy because that too is uniform. As well, models are a starting point. Executives then use experience, leadership, guts, whatever you want to call it, to fine tune what the model spits out. But make no mistake, how much money RCG wants to make in July, how much risk they are willing to take to get to some figure is a primary driver in what appears to us as chaos over vaccines or no vaccines, masks or no masks, etc., etc., etc.

  

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