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Vax status in Florida


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An unvaccinated friend of mine wants to cruise this year on RC and we wondered about the rules.  The way I read it, if you are leaving from Florida, RC can not require you to show proof.  I also looked at the health form and it seems like they have an option that says something like prefer not to say.    Is it possible if he doesn't provide proof and doesn't answer on the form, he could go?

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9 minutes ago, bwilley said:

I was thinking that too, but wondered about the part of Florida and not being able to require it.  There must be a loophole or something?

The cruise ships do not have to make him provide proof, they are choosing to, he will have to show proof. Maybe in October that will change (at least based on my conversation with an RC rep the other day when my exemption was denied), but right now the protocol is vaccine and testing. It might change to just testing the unvaxxed after September, but I would think even then there would be a limit on the number of unvaxxed allowed on the ships.

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16 minutes ago, bwilley said:

I was thinking that too, but wondered about the part of Florida and not being able to require it.  There must be a loophole or something?

When that first came about the way they used to do it was you can either volunteer proof of your vaccination or pay a ton of money to be tested but they stopped that rather quickly and, according to their site, "For guests departing from Florida homeports, this vaccine requirement is the policy of several international governments for a cruise ship to enter their waters. We remain in contact with local governments in the ports we visit and will update the policy if advised."

 

So Florida residents and departees have to play the same rules as everyone else. Which means your friend either needs to get the shot (if they're able), work on getting a medical or religious exemption (if eligible and TBH I haven't followed the changes on this enough to know if RCI is still accepting them) or just not cruise yet.

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14 minutes ago, CrimsonCruiser said:

When that first came about the way they used to do it was you can either volunteer proof of your vaccination or pay a ton of money to be tested but they stopped that rather quickly and, according to their site, "For guests departing from Florida homeports, this vaccine requirement is the policy of several international governments for a cruise ship to enter their waters. We remain in contact with local governments in the ports we visit and will update the policy if advised."

 

So Florida residents and departees have to play the same rules as everyone else. Which means your friend either needs to get the shot (if they're able), work on getting a medical or religious exemption (if eligible and TBH I haven't followed the changes on this enough to know if RCI is still accepting them) or just not cruise yet.

Yeah, might be better to just wait until RC implements something like Virgin does where you call in advance and see if the booking has room for unvaxxed. While Virgin does require unvaxxed to test at the port (free of charge), you do have the ability to at least know that you are guaranteed a spot on the ship. The tough part about the lines offering exemptions right now is that you have to book, apply, and then just wait and see.

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There was an evolution of the rules as it relates to vaccine status and Florida cruising. 

One of the later steps in the process saw NCL in court with the state of Florida over the proof of vaccine law and NCL won that moment.  While that ruling was limited to NCL the other cruises could have jumped on the bandwagon but with other Caribbean nations requiring the vaccine the Florida law became a moot point.   

The Florida law could come back into play now as destinations ease back on their requirements in which case the NCL ruling could loom large once again.  Would Florida try to enforce their law knowing it's already been challenged successfully in court once?  Time will tell.  

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6 hours ago, Bowen said:

Yeah, might be better to just wait until RC implements something like Virgin does where you call in advance and see if the booking has room for unvaxxed. While Virgin does require unvaxxed to test at the port (free of charge), you do have the ability to at least know that you are guaranteed a spot on the ship. The tough part about the lines offering exemptions right now is that you have to book, apply, and then just wait and see.

The thing with Virgin is they don't service the under 18 crowd.  The issue with RC and them telling you in advance is they would have to move towards the 5-12 unvaxed crowd needing to follow the same rules as medical and religious reasons which is they have to apply and be approved.  This would be a hard sell to the execs of RC I feel.  Because they are a family cruise line.  Otherwise, you risk going beyond the 10% with late family bookings after you accepted the other ones.  Even lowering to 80% still could cause issues if you don't include 5 to 12 unvaxed.  And since 2 to 5 can now get vaccinated do they start to need to be included in the 10%?  It isn't that Virgin has any real different policies (other than dropping testing for vaxed which I see RC doing in October) is that they don't have to worry about families.

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The blog posting today seems to indicate that we are headed toward a big change in all testing and vac requirements.  What are your thoughts that my friend could book something now for around Christmas?  Does this timing seem at all likely at this point?

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20 minutes ago, bwilley said:

The blog posting today seems to indicate that we are headed toward a big change in all testing and vac requirements.  What are your thoughts that my friend could book something now for around Christmas?  Does this timing seem at all likely at this point?

A removal of testing isn't quite the same as the removal of vaccination. In fact, I think the removal of testing will have them want to keep vaccination requirements for a while because it will serve as a buffer in the event it gets brought on board. You have to view it from a business/money and then safety point and if a non-vaxxed person gets the increasingly stronger variant of Covid, there is a possibility of more medical attention necessary. That means more delays for helicopter evacs, more costs for that person, more necessity for staff on board who can tend to the person while waiting on transport etc etc. It's not cheap to care for someone with a bad case.

TL;DR..I think Christmas will be too soon. If I'm honest...I wouldn't think the vax requirement will go away until maybe next summer....but that's just me and my opinion. I've been wrong before.

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24 minutes ago, bwilley said:

The blog posting today seems to indicate that we are headed toward a big change in all testing and vac requirements.  What are your thoughts that my friend could book something now for around Christmas?  Does this timing seem at all likely at this point?

Still a crystal ball question.  

My best guess is that they will see how the initial changes impact cruises and based on results they'll either continue easing protocols or hold the line.  

Perhaps a refundable deposit booking would lock in rates but give them an out should the signs not look good in the fall.  

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saw this tonight on the RC healthy sail center page.  Any idea what it means?

 Maintaining a high percentage of fully vaccinated guests onboard all our sailings, far above the general population.

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IF any cruise line starts allowing a bunch of unvaccinated Floridians onboard, I wil NOT cruise on that cruise or cruise line.  I know a whole lot of other people who would stay away as well.

I want to cruise on ships that MINIMIZE the chances of an onboard Covid outbreak.  I do NOT want my cruise ruined by having most of the ports on the itinerary deny access because of Covid status or Covid numbers. I have been on five cruises so far during the pandemic era and all five cruises required all passengers to be vaccinated (or close to it--allowing very rare and unavoidable exceptions at best on one or two of them)...and none have been stricken by Covid outbreaks.

But, were the Florida authorities to get their ignorant way with this thing, we'd likely have OUR cruise ruined.

If your unvaccinated friends really want to cruise, it is EASY:  GET VACCINATED.  It is SAFE.  It is the right thing to do.

Yes, they have the "right" to not be vaccinated.  But they don't have the right to force that risk on others.  Just like they have the right to get drunkk...but they don't have the right to get drunk AND get behind the wheel of a car and impose the risks they've elected to take on others.

They might, for some strange reason, want to take the risks of being without vaccination...but they don't have the right to force some of those risks on everyone else on their cruise.

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1 hour ago, bwilley said:

Has anyone heard from Rc this week about their change to protocols?  It said booked passengers would hear this week and I bet there are some booked passengers in this chat...

I received an email on August 1st, only for our one unvaccinated, booked guest that is 3 years old, stating that he needs a PCR test and to schedule his in-terminal antigen test.  No emails regarding the rest of us or the dropping of the needed tests for all of us.  Sailing mid-August.   Our app still only shows the current requirements, not any changes requirements.

PCR tests are very difficult to obtain and to get any guarantee of fast results.  I doubt the new protocol will require PCR tests for all unvaccinated guests, so I’m hoping that there will be one type of test that will apply to all unvaccinated guests…children and adults.

Communication on this is not happening yet.

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On 7/29/2022 at 2:00 AM, Bruin Steve said:

IF any cruise line starts allowing a bunch of unvaccinated Floridians onboard, I wil NOT cruise on that cruise or cruise line.  I know a whole lot of other people who would stay away as well.

I want to cruise on ships that MINIMIZE the chances of an onboard Covid outbreak.  I do NOT want my cruise ruined by having most of the ports on the itinerary deny access because of Covid status or Covid numbers. I have been on five cruises so far during the pandemic era and all five cruises required all passengers to be vaccinated (or close to it--allowing very rare and unavoidable exceptions at best on one or two of them)...and none have been stricken by Covid outbreaks.

But, were the Florida authorities to get their ignorant way with this thing, we'd likely have OUR cruise ruined.

If your unvaccinated friends really want to cruise, it is EASY:  GET VACCINATED.  It is SAFE.  It is the right thing to do.

Yes, they have the "right" to not be vaccinated.  But they don't have the right to force that risk on others.  Just like they have the right to get drunkk...but they don't have the right to get drunk AND get behind the wheel of a car and impose the risks they've elected to take on others.

They might, for some strange reason, want to take the risks of being without vaccination...but they don't have the right to force some of those risks on everyone else on their cruise.

Top five places where you are most likely to catch COVID from a leading NIH virologist:

(All on land)

  1. Indoor Restaurants
  2. Bars
  3. Gyms
  4. Crowded Grocery Stores
  5. Hair Salons

Florida based cruise ships didn't make the list.  

Note that cruise ship protocols are not used at any of the places on land where you are most likely to become infected.  No vaccine mandates at these venues either.  No testing required for the top five COVID venues.  

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10 minutes ago, twangster said:

Top five places where you are most likely to catch COVID from a leading NIH virologist:

(All on land)

  1. Indoor Restaurants
  2. Bars
  3. Gyms
  4. Crowded Grocery Stores
  5. Hair Salons

Florida based cruise ships didn't make the list.  

Note that cruise ship protocols are not used at any of the places on land where you are most likely to become infected.  No vaccine mandates at these venues either.  No testing required for the top five COVID venues.  

And yet the #1 place to catch covid has always been your own home. A neither here nor there comment of course

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