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Royal Caribbean opts into CDC highly vax program


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So looking forward to a maskless cruise! Unfortunately, being from Canada I wasn’t able to cruise at the beginning of the restart when they were maskless. So my 3 cruises so far all included wearing masks which wasn’t the end of the world for me but I am excited to go maskless! 63 days to go

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3 hours ago, Matt said:

Two important takeaways from Royal's decision to opt in:

1. They were already pretty much at 95% on every sailing ever since kids started getting vaccinated.

2. This change means face masks will become optional indoors. That's a big change.

Correct me if I am wrong, it says that all kids have to wear masks while in the child program. So they are doing what the entire school system and government is doing? Making the least vulnerable mask up? If I read that right, that is awful 

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So with this 95% threshold. When is this number decided? Day of sailing? If so, may your cruise have to go to wearing masks when you thought you didn't have to? And if it's some predetermined pre-cruise date, for every unvaccinated guest sailing do they need more vaccinated ones and sell/open more cabins? Am I overthinking this? I'm so confused. And it's late and I've been drinking. 😁

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The language seems to refer to being "fully vaccinated" versus "up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines". Royal Caribbean is choosing to go with "Highly Vaccinated" and not the top tier.
 

Quote
  • Not Highly Vaccinated: ships with less than 95% passengers and 95% crew who are fully vaccinated.
  • Highly Vaccinated: ships with at least 95% passengers and 95% crew who are fully vaccinated but less than 95% of passengers and 95% of crew are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Vaccination Standard of Excellence: ships with at least 95% passengers and 95% crew who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

The way I interpret it is "up to date" means whatever the latest level of "boosted" means, while "fully vaccinated" means (currently) just the initial 1- or 2-dose regimen.

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6 hours ago, RWDW1204 said:

So with this 95% threshold. When is this number decided? Day of sailing? If so, may your cruise have to go to wearing masks when you thought you didn't have to? And if it's some predetermined pre-cruise date, for every unvaccinated guest sailing do they need more vaccinated ones and sell/open more cabins? Am I overthinking this? I'm so confused. And it's late and I've been drinking. 😁

I have a feeling there's some back door understanding that it's possible a given cruise may be at say 93% but there will be no expectation that the cruise line would suddenly have to undo all protocols and go back to masking.

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7 hours ago, RWDW1204 said:

So with this 95% threshold. When is this number decided? Day of sailing? If so, may your cruise have to go to wearing masks when you thought you didn't have to? And if it's some predetermined pre-cruise date, for every unvaccinated guest sailing do they need more vaccinated ones and sell/open more cabins? Am I overthinking this? I'm so confused. And it's late and I've been drinking. 😁

According to Royal ever since 6-12 year olds could get vaccinated their vaccination rate among passengers has been hovering between 95% - 98% per sailing and the order excludes children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.  Now that is good news because it means children who are not yet eligible do not count against your 95% as they can't get vaccinated. According to the article on the main page of this site this is one of the reasons why Royal opted into the CDC program because they already are exceeding the requirement the CDC has in place for cruise lines that opt into the program.

The biggest benefit I can see as a result of opting in is masks become optional while indoors for all vaccinated guest, make are expected (not sure if that means mandated) for unvaccinated guest and it would appear as though children would only have to wear a mask while attending Adventure Ocean youth programs. 

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2 hours ago, CJS2766 said:

Does this mean that you "must" get the booster to cruise now? Kinda confused myself??? 😕

If they are going with "Highly", that means that they are taking the middle of the road approach. So the same as it is now. For the moment, new name or term, but no changes.....FOR THE MOMENT! Check BACK IN 10 MINUTES

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Updated protocols for sailings departing the U.S. and Puerto Rico on or after February 25, 2022

Royal Caribbean International will participate in the U.S. CDC's voluntary COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in U.S. waters, beginning with sailings departing on or after February 25th, 2022 from the U.S. (including Puerto Rico). We will be operating under the Highly Vaccinated category defined by the CDC.

To be considered Highly Vaccinated, requirements include sailing with 95% of crew members fully vaccinated, which we already meet with 100% of our crew. And, 95% of guests eligible for the vaccine must be fully vaccinated as well.

The updated protocols will include face masks being optional for all fully vaccinated guests and expected for unvaccinated children. All kids will be required to wear face masks during Adventure Ocean youth program activities.

We are thoughtfully working through the details and other changes to our health and safety measures to share with our guests and travel advisors before February 25, 2022. 

As a reminder, our health and safety protocols are subject to change.

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1 hour ago, smokeybandit said:

I have a feeling there's some back door understanding that it's possible a given cruise may be at say 93% but there will be no expectation that the cruise line would suddenly have to undo all protocols and go back to masking.

Or the "We regret to inform you that due to CDC guidelines you are not eligible to cruise with us tomorrow" email.  

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11 minutes ago, danv3 said:

So when are they getting rid of the pre-cruise testing?  That's a much bigger issue to me than masking, tbh.  Not knowing if you're actually going on the cruise until two days before you leave greatly increases anxiety and doesn't let you enjoy the countdown the way you could before.

I don't think the pre-cruise test will go away before summer and if I'm really to be honest I don't see it going away before 2023. The CDC isn't ready to give up control and believe it or not cruise lines in the US are still walking a very tight rope with the CDC hovering over their shoulder, so it might take a few more months before that test goes away.

I think there is a far better chance of the CDC and Biden Administration dropping the pre-arrival test for vaccinated international arriving passengers coming to the US first before they even consider dropping the pre-departure test for cruises.

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10 minutes ago, JasonOasis said:

I don't think the pre-cruise test will go away before summer and if I'm really to be honest I don't see it going away before 2023. The CDC isn't ready to give up control and believe it or not cruise lines in the US are still walking a very tight rope with the CDC hovering over their shoulder, so it might take a few more months before that test goes away.

I think there is a far better chance of the CDC and Biden Administration dropping the pre-arrival test for vaccinated international arriving passengers coming to the US first before they even consider dropping the pre-departure test for cruises.

Does the CDC actually require pre-cruise testing of all passengers? Admittedly, their program is about as clear as you'd expect from a government agency, but as far as I can tell, the new CDC voluntary program only requires embarkation tests for crew, with pax only required to test in the case of close contact or when experiencing symptoms.

https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/management/technical-instructions-for-cruise-ships.html

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