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Unvaccinated kids under 12

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Hello all, 

I am still very unclear on how traveling for a cruise works with 2 unvaccinated kids. At the time of booking on the phone the Royal Caribbean agent didn't make it seem like it was a big deal at all, stating that they were just required to have a PCR test a few days before boarding. This is fine. But now I am reading about 95% of the capacity needs to be vaccinated... so how would this work for my kids? Will there be an issue? Will we be turned away when I do my online check in and cannot submit my childrens proof of vaccination? what will happen to all the cruise fare I paid in this case?

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The new standard is 90%. Unvaxxed children need a PCR test 3 days before and then will get tested before they board at the port.  They will let you know if they reach that threshold and will give you a refund or in some cases some OBC and a locked in rate to take a cruise at another time. 

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[5] At this time, children under the age of 5 years (i.e., children who are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines) will not be counted when determining the percentage of passengers on board who are fully vaccinated or up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

[8] For a ship to be listed with a Vaccination Standard of Excellence classification on CDC’s Cruise Ship Color Status webpage, the cruise line has committed to operate the ship with at least 90% passengers (excluding children under 5 years of age) and 95% crew up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.


Summary of Past Changes

May 05, 2022

Changed cruise ship vaccination status thresholds from 95% of passengers to 90% of passengers.

March 18, 2022

Provided quarantine cabin options for close contacts identified within 36 hours before disembarking.

February 18, 2022

Clarified that children under the age of 5 years will not be counted when determining the percentage of passengers on board who are fully vaccinated or up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

EDITED IN:  I can't find anything on Royal's site that addresses those that are between 5 and under 12, what happens if the ship is at 90% or less vaccinated.  If they are at, say 94%, no problem.  However, I will do a stretch here and say that if they do follow their own protocols, it would be easy to stay at 90% and above, expecially if 4 year olds and younger aren't counted in the 90%.  Also, Royal, like I have said many times, is in the business of getting people on the ship not keeping them off of it.  I'm sure they will bend themselves into a pretzel trying to find a way to allow the 5 - 11 year old kids that aren't vaccinated on the ship.  Not to mention it wouldn't be good public relations to turn away a family because of a % point.  If you are going to try to get on the ship anyway, I'd have the kid(s) do the pre-cruise testing (the PCR test) and hope for the best, show your good intentions, and have on your best sad little puppy dog faces.  

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We just sailed on Allure of the Seas in June with two kids under 12 who are not vaxxed.

The process was pretty straight forward:

  • Got a PCR test for them on Thursday (three days) before our Saturday embarkation. Printed that out and brought it with us.
  • At the cruise terminal we joined the special line for kids under 12, showed them our PCR test, and kids received an "antigen" sticker indicating they needed a test.
  • Each kid got a quick nasal swab from the testing technician and we proceeded to check-in (showed our boarding documents, health questionnaire etc.)
  • We waited about 15 minutes upstairs in the cruise terminal before we got the text/email with the test results.
  • Showed the emailed results to the employees in the waiting area, and again before actually stepping foot on the gangplank

While on the cruise we were notified that they needed to be tested again before the cruise was over, so on the second to last day we took them to the 4th deck main dining area and snaked around to a testing area where they again both got a quick swab. We were told "no news is good news" and didn't hear anything else about the tests after that.

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