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Royal Caribbean opts into CDC highly vax program


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3 hours ago, Zambia-Zaire said:

Yeah......protocols tend to never go away & they all will opt-in; pre-covid cruising is done forever. <smh>

Even though that is sad to see written I think you're correct that pre-Covid cruising is gone forever. 😡  I have not been on a cruise since 2019...I was scheduled for one in March 2020 on Oasis when everything got shutdown.

I've been watching these protocols come and go and the one thing I have seen is they don't get relaxed much and they just shift the narratives. The cruise lines are trying to navigate these rules to make money, totally understandable, but we will not be close to even full cruises much less pre-Covid protocols again, if ever.

It's just sad I may never step foot on a cruise ship again. Yes I've had the shots, two of them, but I will not get a booster - I'm done.  Paying to go on a vacation to wear a mask is just not something I'm willing to do. Too many other places to vacation and spend my money. I'm still working for a couple more years so one vacation a year is all I get and it's got to be relaxing. Cruising to me now is just too stressful to just get on the ship.

I'd love to cruise again as I really miss it but...not looking good for VACruiser.

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2 hours ago, VACruiser said:

Same here …… we have Symphony tomorrow …… then Wonder in March and Alaska in June that I can’t cancel because we have too many other people going with us that would be mad if we cancelled  ……. But after that, if it’s going to be masks, boosters, and/or ridiculous protocols, the other 6 cruises I have booked from that point on will all be cancelled.  It’s time for the cruise lines to tell the CDC to go to hell. 

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It looks like the CDC is saying if you don’t voluntarily do this…then we will punish you by treating you as a conveyance and masking will be required of all individuals onboard…all the time! So there!!
Okay. I believe CDC authority over foreign flagged vessels ends at the limits of US territorial waters. So….at US ports, embarkation and disembarkation days, everyone has to mask up. Otherwise, as soon as the ship clears US waters…open the casino and masks off!

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1 hour ago, BrianB said:

It looks like the CDC is saying if you don’t voluntarily do this…then we will punish you by treating you as a conveyance and masking will be required of all individuals onboard…all the time! So there!!

I hate masks as much as anyone BUT I'm not sure that this is such a terrible trade-off.  No vax requirements, no testing requirements, just the mask nonsense.  To me, that's a win.

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Hmmm....

1. The Forum rules clearly prohibit political opinion, yet every time a post about protocols shows up, so do the opinions.

2. The CDC has always had a problem with clear, concise, and meaningful written policies/protocols.  This is not new. 

3. Many of the people interpreting these CDC and RCCL rules should be attorneys!  Sadly, many should not.  Some of the comments are really helpful in analyzing the rules; however, it isn't really up to us to interpret and analyze.  It is RCCL who will, or will not, implement rules and such according to what RCCL thinks is best for its business and its customers.

4. I defer to RCCL in its own policies and procedures when it comes to Covid stuff.  First, cruises were entirely shut down for way too long because of the pandemic.  Second, RCCL expends a lot of money issuing refunds, credits, and other costs associated with people getting Covid prior to, during, and after the cruise.  I think that it is prudent business to be as accommodating to the majority of consumers yet as compliant as RCCL can be with the CDC rules in order to maintain a profitable business.  

5. Personally, I would rather mask up than have the anxiety driven requirement for testing negative 2 days prior to sailing.  This is killing me.

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2 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I hate masks as much as anyone BUT I'm not sure that this is such a terrible trade-off.  No vax requirements, no testing requirements, just the mask nonsense.  To me, that's a win.


Their new “rules” don’t say no vaccination requirements …… they say 95% “fully up to date” on the vaccine for an excellence rating 

 

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12 minutes ago, ChrisK2793 said:

Their new “rules” don’t say no vaccination requirements …… they say 95% “fully up to date” on the vaccine for an excellence rating 

I believe @WAAAYTOOO was not interpreting the rules, rather stating hypothetically that she'd rather deal with mask requirements than vaccination and testing requirements.

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20 minutes ago, ChrisK2793 said:


Their new “rules” don’t say no vaccination requirements …… they say 95% “fully up to date” on the vaccine for an excellence rating 

 

I think this was based on Opting Out.  So if you Opt Out, and the punishment is everyone needs to wear a mask, that might not be as bad as the protocols associated with Opting In.

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9 minutes ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

I believe @WAAAYTOOO was not interpreting the rules, rather stating hypothetically that she'd rather deal with mask requirements than vaccination and testing requirements.

No, actually I was under the impression that if the cruise lines opt out of the voluntary program, the "rules" would convert to those of public transportation....which has no vax or testing requirements.  I guess I am wrong about that.  I thought the 95% nonsense was part of the new voluntary protocols.

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2 hours ago, CruisingNewb said:

Hmmm....

1. The Forum rules clearly prohibit political opinion, yet every time a post about protocols shows up, so do the opinions.

2. The CDC has always had a problem with clear, concise, and meaningful written policies/protocols.  This is not new. 

3. Many of the people interpreting these CDC and RCCL rules should be attorneys!  Sadly, many should not.  Some of the comments are really helpful in analyzing the rules; however, it isn't really up to us to interpret and analyze.  It is RCCL who will, or will not, implement rules and such according to what RCCL thinks is best for its business and its customers.

4. I defer to RCCL in its own policies and procedures when it comes to Covid stuff.  First, cruises were entirely shut down for way too long because of the pandemic.  Second, RCCL expends a lot of money issuing refunds, credits, and other costs associated with people getting Covid prior to, during, and after the cruise.  I think that it is prudent business to be as accommodating to the majority of consumers yet as compliant as RCCL can be with the CDC rules in order to maintain a profitable business.  

5. Personally, I would rather mask up than have the anxiety driven requirement for testing negative 2 days prior to sailing.  This is killing me.

A lot of the opinions aren't really "political" opinions, they are just opinions.  Unfortunately just about everything has been turned into a political opinion at this point.  I have an opinion on the protocols.  It's my opinion.  I can assure you it has nothing to do with my political affiliation.

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21 minutes ago, gatorskin76 said:

A lot of the opinions aren't really "political" opinions, they are just opinions.  Unfortunately just about everything has been turned into a political opinion at this point.  I have an opinion on the protocols.  It's my opinion.  I can assure you it has nothing to do with my political affiliation.

Correct.  But there are those opinions that are clearly politically charged.

Can the two be separated?  Yes.  Should they be?  Yes.

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6 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I hate masks as much as anyone BUT I'm not sure that this is such a terrible trade-off.  No vax requirements, no testing requirements, just the mask nonsense.  To me, that's a win.

I don’t think that the cruise lines that opt out are just going to drop all their vax requirements. They may drop testing but I feel the vax requirement will be the last requirement to drop, if it ever does 

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I don't know about you all but I've read this new program the CDC just released along with the many views posted here about it. As is most COVID related PH guidance that the CDC releases it is so complex that it defies understanding and clear concise guidance.

My only qualification to make the following observation is that I followed FL's civil suit that requested and then prevailed in court that the CDC's CSO be enjoined. I'm not a lawyer let alone skilled in interpreting maritime law. I did read carefully Judge Merryday's opinion in his ruling against the CDC. It was complicated, involved complex aspects of maritime law applicable to the cruise industry and slammed the CDC for exceeding it's powers to regulate cruise ship operations in US waters granted by congress.

Nothing has changed with respect to Congress's authority granted to HHS. Yet, here we are. Another set of what I believe are regulatory standards issued by the CDC that exceed their lawful authority. The problem lies in what I perceive are punitive measures directed at the cruise lines for not "opting in" to the voluntary program. I think it's pretty clear that the CDC is saying If you don't do this, then we will label you as this and that amounts to being punished.

You may recall that Judge Merryday (3rd District Court of Middle FL), after finding in favor of FL and granting a temporary injunction of the CSO, gave the CDC the opportunity to return to the court with an updated CSO. They tried but failed. The CSO they presented, according to Judge Merryday and the arguments of FL attorneys, applied restrictions (punishments) that amounted to law making that the CDC did not have the authority to impose. 

Another aspect that pissed off Judge Merryday was that the CSO "targeted" the cruise lines. The CDC argued that the CSO was designed around applicable maritime law that didn't apply to any other similar industries. If I recall, this argument carried some legal weight and I note in this new release, the CDC is careful to point out that maritime law authorizes this new voluntary CSO. I think this may be an open legal question best left to attorneys skilled in interpreting applicable maritime law.

While all this was going on, CLIA remained in the background for reasons that none of us are privy to. There seemed to be a general consensus among industry health and safety protocol policy makers that they preferred cooperation with the CDC rather than confrontation. They left that to FL. Well, FL's argument that the CSO was unlawful prevailed all the way to the USSC. I believe Merryday, who may be called upon to review this new CDC order, would find it too is unlawful for the same reasons the original CSO was found to be unlawful. How the industry reacts collectively via CLIA or whether they navigate their COVID paths forward independently remains to be seen. 

Stay tuned.

That the new CSO may obtain the same fate as the old one may all be wishful thinking and you can be sure the cruise lines are looking at their options. My view is that it makes perfect sense for the lines to not opt in to this thing and let the chips fall where they might. IOW, they would rather live with whatever punitive measures the CDC may impose in order to preserve the ability to regulate themselves using health protocols they have proven to be successful in mitigating COVID.    

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5 hours ago, gatorskin76 said:

I wonder if anyone will ever consider natural immunity in their protocols.  Would be a breathe of fresh air, imo.

as said above I'll try to stay out of politics...I'm not sure that is completely possible as Covid has become nothing but political as everyday life revolves around that very thing and the world we live in is very different than March 2020.  Will they ever consider natural immunity? Under the current protocols - I don't think so unless they say that you don't have to get a booster because you have had two shots and had Covid so a booster is not needed. I don't see any scenario where they give up on the shots in the near-term.

I'm in the category as I've had two Moderna shots and had Covid so I should have a high-antibody count but I would have to get tested to test my theory on that.

I think in the near-term that maybe the best we get out of it. If you have not had any shots you will be hounded every time you visit the doctor or need a medical procedure they will hold that over your head. I would hope that is not the case but that has been happening already so it's not unprecedented. 

May be we all get antibody tests before cruising and the highest count gets a Suite upgrade 😆

 

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4 hours ago, gatorskin76 said:

I wonder if anyone will ever consider natural immunity in their protocols.  Would be a breathe of fresh air, imo.

Carnival now counts it in lieu of testing but only for 90 days. The CDC recently released Delta data from California and New York showing natural immunity was more protective against the Delta variant for hospitalizations than any brand of vaccine. It's their study so they should consider it, hopefully soon. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7104e1.htm

I'm not being political and the CDC isn't hiding it, it's just not getting a lot of media attention. The link is the cdc website and this is their summary on their website:

During May–November 2021, case and hospitalization rates were highest among persons who were unvaccinated without a previous diagnosis. Before Delta became the predominant variant in June, case rates were higher among persons who survived a previous infection than persons who were vaccinated alone. By early October, persons who survived a previous infection had lower case rates than persons who were vaccinated alone.

 

 

 

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The world is in the process of a pandemic paradigm shift that will ultimately change major government's COVID related PH policy. Major and disruptive demonstrations are occurring world wide opposing vaccination mandates, most COVID related mandates, for that matter. The folks are fed up with and tired of the exhaustive and confusing web of protocols regulating thier lives.

PH experts are speaking loudly through research papers and public appearances showing governments how to not think in binary terms. IOW, SARS2 disease impact is not defined by one outcome over another as if it was a sure thing. Risk of infection, illness or death is not defined by one set of data is rarely fully objectifiable and involves a good deal of subjective analysis. They are also pushing the reasonable approach that questions how the huge amount of generally unreliable data is being used to decide when to lift or impose COVID mitigation measures (e.g., masking in schools).

Meanwhile, the CDC continues to operate as if this were March, 2020. I offer the new Voluntary COVID-19 Program as evidence of that. I'm personally getting behind a cruise industry effort to decline participation in the CDC's antiquated approach and thank them for stopping by.

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Speaking of that, we're seeing the basis of a potential legal challenge to the Voluntary program from CLIA here:

https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/26770-clia-blasts-new-cdc-cruise-program-as-discriminatory.html

Cliff Notes: it's discriminatory. See my discussion of this above in the post I made earlier.

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13 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

The cruise lines can't accept this. It's actually MORE strict than the old CSO. I don't know what NCL was thinking in opting in but they've made a lot of blunders throughout the pandemic.


I saw a YouTube blog yesterday that said NCL opted in before they saw what came out …… and that they’re rethinking it now 

 

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1 hour ago, gatorskin76 said:

This thread seems shorter than it was before.  I wish there was a place for reasonable discussion.

This is a place for reasonable discussion of cruise ship news and rumors. Not a place to discuss your personal thoughts on Covid, vaccines, masks, and/or politics.

It's a simple rule because the moment it veers in that other direction, it just devolves into name calling, personal attacks, and divisive chatter.

We try to give a little leeway since inevitably there's some blurred lines when talking about cruise ship protocols, but if it goes too far, that's the end of it.

There's plenty of places to discuss Covid on the internet, but this isn't one of them.

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Oof.... These caveats should make all cruise lines think twice about opting into the program... especially the refund part..... a government agency making a private company offer full refunds... Ouch.

 

† If CDC is considering assigning a cruise ship “Red” status, CDC may require ships to do one or more of the following:

  • Test all passengers mid-voyage, and/or prior to the end of the voyage, regardless of the passengers’ vaccination status;
  • Increase routine screening testing of crew;
  • Require mask use by all passengers and crew indoors and crowded outdoor areas;
  • Send written notification to passengers on the current, previous, and subsequent voyages informing them of the COVID-19 conditions and measures being taken to reduce transmission on board;
  • Offer a full refund for the cruise to any passenger who decides not to sail on the subsequent voyage; and
  • Submit specimens for genetic sequencing.
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1 hour ago, Cruiser4Life said:

 

Oof.... These caveats should make all cruise lines think twice about opting into the program... especially the refund part..... a government agency making a private company offer full refunds... Ouch.

 

† If CDC is considering assigning a cruise ship “Red” status, CDC may require ships to do one or more of the following:

  • Test all passengers mid-voyage, and/or prior to the end of the voyage, regardless of the passengers’ vaccination status;
  • Increase routine screening testing of crew;
  • Require mask use by all passengers and crew indoors and crowded outdoor areas;
  • Send written notification to passengers on the current, previous, and subsequent voyages informing them of the COVID-19 conditions and measures being taken to reduce transmission on board;
  • Offer a full refund for the cruise to any passenger who decides not to sail on the subsequent voyage; and
  • Submit specimens for genetic sequencing.

This is absolutely ridiculous. 
 

 

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Not trying to defend the CDC...

Did anyone actually read what is required for a ship to reach red status? I would hope refunds to future guests would be offered if the ship hadn't voluntarily shutdown already.

Only part I might be concerned about is misuse of "variant of concern".

 

Sustained transmission of COVID-19 or CLI, defined as a 7-day

  • Crew attack rate greater than or equal to 10% occurring at least once weekly over 3 consecutive weeks;
  • Passenger attack rate greater than or equal to 10% occurring at least once weekly over 3 consecutive weeks;
  • Crew attack rate greater than or equal to 20% occurring on any single day;
  • Passenger attack rate greater than or equal to 20% occurring on any single day; or
  • Traveler (crew AND passenger) attack rate greater than or equal to 30% occurring on any single day

Severe COVID-19 acquired onboard resulting in:

  • Shortages of supplemental oxygen or other medical supplies related to COVID-19 treatment, or
  • 2 or more deaths in passengers and/or crew in a 7-day period.

Potential for COVID-19 cases to overwhelm on board medical center and/or public health resources, defined as the inability to maintain:

  • Adequate staff to
  • Evaluate symptomatic travelers and their close contacts,
  • Conduct routine and diagnostic testing of travelers,
  • Conduct routine medical checks of travelers in isolation or quarantine, or
  • Conduct contact tracing of close contacts.

Adequate supplies of

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) listed on CDC’s Interim Guidance for Ships on Managing Suspected or Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019,
  • Testing equipment for routine and diagnostic screening,
  • Antipyretics (fever-reducing medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen),
  • Antivirals and other therapeutics for COVID-19,external icon if commercially available,
  • Oral and intravenous steroids, or
  • Supplemental oxygen.

Inadequate onboard capacity to fulfill minimal operational services, including but not limited to housekeeping and food and beverage services.

A variant of concern or a new or emerging variant with undefined characteristics identified among cases on board.

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8 hours ago, Matt said:

This is a place for reasonable discussion of cruise ship news and rumors. Not a place to discuss your personal thoughts on Covid, vaccines, masks, and/or politics.

It's a simple rule because the moment it veers in that other direction, it just devolves into name calling, personal attacks, and divisive chatter.

We try to give a little leeway since inevitably there's some blurred lines when talking about cruise ship protocols, but if it goes too far, that's the end of it.

There's plenty of places to discuss Covid on the internet, but this isn't one of them.

I can’t speak for others, but any of my posts are directly related to Covid protocols on cruise ships, not Covid in general or politics.  A lot of people have moved on and are cruising again, but there are still some of us that aren’t able to because of current protocols, or should I say choose not to jump through the hoops placed in front of us.  For those that are back to cruising…congrats.  Some who were part of this community prior to the pandemic, when shorts during formal night was the controversial discussions, are still waiting to be able to participate in this activity we all enjoy, but we aren’t able to discuss when that might become a reality.  Oh well…

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Ok, new rumor, or... maybe not.

yesterday... Valentinesday., Happy Valentinesday by the way. I heard RC announced that they will will roll back on Feb.15th, with the Mask Policy, no more masks in the Casino, smoking allowed in Casinos again, on some Ships ect. But... i only believe it when Matt says it. I just trust Matt.

Sorry about my English, i`m from Switzerland.

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22 minutes ago, BesaidCruiser said:

Ok, new rumor, or... maybe not.

yesterday... Valentinesday., Happy Valentinesday by the way. I heard RC announced that they will will roll back on Feb.15th, with the Mask Policy, no more masks in the Casino, smoking allowed in Casinos again, on some Ships ect. But... i only believe it when Matt says it. I just trust Matt.

Sorry about my English, i`m from Switzerland.

It is true https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2022/02/09/royal-caribbean-will-end-stricter-face-mask-rules-its-cruise-ships

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7 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

What does all of this mean ?

I have thoughts in my head that I'm not sure are actually correct.

More or less my thoughts have to do with the future overreach of the CDC or other government agency. Keep in mind the CSO still applied everywhere else besides Florida. In Florida it was a "voluntary" program after the preliminary injunction. Similar to where NCL is the only cruise line in Florida that can ask for proof of vaccination due to a preliminary injunction.

Also not sure how the ruling on the preliminary injunction would stand up historically if referenced in future cases.

@JeffBmight have some better insight what the impact is with the case being dismissed.

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