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No More Pre-Cruise Testing for Vaccinated guests on voyages less than 6 nights staring August 8th!


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2 hours ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

Also another interesting statistic would be the number of people cancelling or moving their sailing as a result of the new policy.

And anticipation of that data may well be why RC is staggering things like they are.

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Royal has 2 different 5 night cruises to Bermuda in October, 2022.  Bermuda currently (As of June 3, 2022) requires negative COVID test results when exiting the ship.   If Bermuda doesn't change their policies I would hope Royal would warn those passengers of Bermuda's policies.

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1 hour ago, Toby said:

Royal has 2 different 5 night cruises to Bermuda in October, 2022.  Bermuda currently (As of June 3, 2022) requires negative COVID test results when exiting the ship.   If Bermuda doesn't change their policies I would hope Royal would warn those passengers of Bermuda's policies.

I bet there are a lot of people who would happily stay on the ship if they didn't want to test, especially if they've been to the port a few times and enjoy the emptiness on board during port days. 

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5 hours ago, Toby said:

Royal has 2 different 5 night cruises to Bermuda in October, 2022.  Bermuda currently (As of June 3, 2022) requires negative COVID test results when exiting the ship.   If Bermuda doesn't change their policies I would hope Royal would warn those passengers of Bermuda's policies.

I am on the Aug 13 cruise to Bermuda on Adventure.  Royal has not sent me any communication and I have been reading and responding to topics here on the blog with others questioning what we need to do!  Seems many of us have not received communication from the Bermuda Travel Authorization site either!  And we have all submitted our applications well in advance!

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I am on the 7th of Aug WOTS Sailing from Barcelona. No updates on European protocols from RC yet. Has anyone heard anything?

https://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Royal/Deployment/2021_2022/RTS_FAQs.pdf states  "European Departures Valid through July 31, 2022", which has passed. No luck in getting a response from their agents of messenger. The most I managed to get from them (last Thursday) is that they would make announcements "soon", without however stating an exact date. Has anyone managed to get any more info?

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14 minutes ago, ak810 said:

I am on the 7th of Aug WOTS Sailing from Barcelona. No updates on European protocols from RC yet. Has anyone heard anything?

Nope. Still watching and waiting with everything crossed. 🤞

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15 hours ago, Bowen said:

I bet there are a lot of people who would happily stay on the ship if they didn't want to test, especially if they've been to the port a few times and enjoy the emptiness on board during port days. 

I agree about empty ships.  There are cheaper 5 night'ers than Bermuda.  I would think most passengers on those cruises are going to explore Bermuda.

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20 minutes ago, DarinM said:

Carnival has amended the short cruise testing protocols to now include the Bahamas as one of the itineraries/places that will need to have a test regardless of cruise length.

Odd, since the bahamas hasn't required a test for vaccinated to enter the country since mid june.

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17 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

Odd, since the bahamas hasn't required a test for vaccinated to enter the country since mid june.

Yeah it's strange, but I did confirm that it does say that. Not sure what's going on. I wonder if it has something to do with the amount of unvaccinated carnival will start allowing to cruise? EDIT: One of the more knowledgeable posters said it was changed last night around 10:30. Not sure how he would know that but he is a decent poster as FB posters go.

 

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10 minutes ago, DarinM said:

Yeah it's strange, but I did confirm that it does say that. Not sure what's going on. I wonder if it has something to do with the amount of unvaccinated carnival will start allowing to cruise?

 

Could be since bahamas still requires cruise passengers 12+ to be vaccinated 

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5 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

Could be since bahamas still requires cruise passengers 12+ to be vaccinated 

Was the Bahamian government letting the cruise lines be the "bad guy"?  The lines require guests testing to sail so they didn't have to enforce visitors to test.  Now the cruise lines are not requiring testing but the government still feels it is necessary? 

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25 minutes ago, Toby said:

Was the Bahamian government letting the cruise lines be the "bad guy"? 

Interesting, that in the beginning, it was really the other way around.  Royal desperately wanted a vax mandate but Florida passed a [utterly useless] law that prevented the cruiselines from requiring a vax to sail so when the Bahamas made it their requirement , the cruiseline(s) said, “Sorry, nothing we can do.  Must comply with the Bahamian government”, and the vax mandate was born.  Now, it seems that the Bahamas are clinging to the mandates/protocols.

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11 hours ago, ak810 said:

I am on the 7th of Aug WOTS Sailing from Barcelona. No updates on European protocols from RC yet. Has anyone heard anything?

https://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Royal/Deployment/2021_2022/RTS_FAQs.pdf states  "European Departures Valid through July 31, 2022", which has passed. No luck in getting a response from their agents of messenger. The most I managed to get from them (last Thursday) is that they would make announcements "soon", without however stating an exact date. Has anyone managed to get any more info?

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It would be nice to get some answers regarding Europe. I know RCL have a relatively light schedule within Europe compared to the states but come on, the EMA announced just like the CDC weeks ago the removal of requirements to test before embarkation from the 1st Aug. Not forgetting Royal have both of their newest ships sailing the med currently.

Royals own publications suggest that current protocols expire in Europe as of the 31st July https://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Royal/Deployment/2021_2022/RTS_FAQs.pdf

Why are we now past the 31st of July and customers scheduled on European departures are left in limbo. The current wording of all the new references to changes in protocols by Royal make reference to departures from the US only.

Updated Guidance for Cruises Departing the U.S.
We are currently developing updated protocols that provide for the continued safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit, better align with the travel and hospitality sector, and meet destination regulations. This means we’re transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us. 
Starting with August 8, 2022 departures, our protocols will include:

• Requiring testing for unvaccinated guests on all sailings, and for vaccinated guests on sailings that are six nights or longer.

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

• All crew will continue to be fully vaccinated and boosted when eligible, and tested regularly.

NCL amongst other recognised this weeks ago and published updates almost instantly.

EU Healthy Gateways Ends Pre-Cruise Testing Requirements

For sailings beginning August 1, 2022, vaccinated guests sailing on a cruise originating from any port EXCEPT a U.S. port; Canadian port; or Piraeus, Greece are exempt from all pre-cruise COVID-19 testing requirements.

This is just sloppy on Royals behalf I think for not providing any updates on or publicly acknowledged the EMAs changes in guidance, like they have done with the CDCs,  whilst the other big 3 have not only acknowledged it, but adjusted protocols.

Rant over, just getting frustrated, like we all have been the last two years, spending what should be the joyful countdown to a holiday yet actually being more stressed as you can’t be certain your even going until you have that little certificate in hand 48hrs before.

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1 hour ago, PineappleT said:

I just heard that the Bahamas is still requiring passengers to have a negative covid test. Majority of short cruises go to the Bahamas. How will that work with Royal's new pre cruise test protocols?

Based on what Carnival said today, cruises going to Bahamas and/or CocoCay will require everyone to vaccinated.  
 

If you’re unvaccinated, you’ll be able to primarily sail to Mexico and Honduras on western caribbean itineraries.  

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Will this help the European decision?...

Wonder currently ports in France, Italy, and Spain each week. While Italy and Spain had both previously lifted their testing requirements, it looks like France just did: “As of Monday, tourists going to France no longer need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test, according to the U.S. Embassy in France. Earlier this summer, the country required travelers to be vaccinated, or show proof of recovery or a recent negative test. “(https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2022/08/02/france-drops-covid-restrictions-travel/)

I also am waiting to hear if the testing requirement will be listed before our Wonder cruise this month. Hopefully this helps give Royal more of the information they need to let us know!

 

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3 hours ago, Matt said:

Based on what Carnival said today, cruises going to Bahamas and/or CocoCay will require everyone to vaccinated.  
 

If you’re unvaccinated, you’ll be able to primarily sail to Mexico and Honduras on western caribbean itineraries.  

I am really hoping that RC doesn't start dropping Cococay on the Mexico/honduras cruises and insteads opt back into the 90% because I would be pretty upset if I lost a stop on my November cruise.

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I am sooooo happy!!..what a relief for Canadians who need a day or two to travel prior to the cruise and have to figure out getting a test and results and then hoping that can still get on the cruise!!

 

I have a 5 day in October and it doesn't go to Bahamas...yeah!...I will be avoiding any cruises that visit there if they keep their vaccine requirements and testing when all/most others places don't.

 

70 days till Serenade!!

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It really seems to me that regardless of what Royal changes, there are going to be countries that will still require testing and/or vaccination. I'm sure that we will eventually get to the point where no one is requiring anything at all. So until then...just go with the flow. 

32 days until we board Harmony and a MUCH needed vacation!!!!

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15 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Interesting, that in the beginning, it was really the other way around.  Royal desperately wanted a vax mandate but Florida passed a [utterly useless] law that prevented the cruiselines from requiring a vax to sail so when the Bahamas made it their requirement , the cruiseline(s) said, “Sorry, nothing we can do.  Must comply with the Bahamian government”, and the vax mandate was born.  Now, it seems that the Bahamas are clinging to the mandates/protocols.

I wasn't aware of that history. 

I was unfairly lumping a number of smaller countries together.  I have read some smaller countries were relying on the CDC for COVID protocols as they didn't have comparable resources or expertise to do the types of research the CDC was doing.

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15 minutes ago, Toby said:

I have read some smaller countries were relying on the CDC for COVID protocols as they didn't have comparable resources or expertise to do the types of research the CDC was doing.

I think this is true as well.

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16 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Interesting, that in the beginning, it was really the other way around.  Royal desperately wanted a vax mandate but Florida passed a [utterly useless] law that prevented the cruiselines from requiring a vax to sail so when the Bahamas made it their requirement , the cruiseline(s) said, “Sorry, nothing we can do.  Must comply with the Bahamian government”, and the vax mandate was born.  Now, it seems that the Bahamas are clinging to the mandates/protocols.

I'm not sure that's accurate (Royal desperately wanted a vax mandate). 

Royal went to great lengths to build their protocols so that unvax could sail.  They even deployed vax areas and unvax areas on the ships just so that unvax could sail.  Royal did test cruises while other lines like Carnival did not, so that unvax could sail.  Royal used vax bracelets for months on the premise that unvax might be able to sail soon.  

Royal did a lot of work on the premise that unvax would be able to cruise until the Bahamas instituted their vax requirement.  Then St Thomas and San Juan followed with their vax requirements, then other destinations like St. Kitts.  Despite that Royal continued to sail ships with vax and unvax areas on the ships hoping the vax requirements would be lifted by the destinations. 

It was not until the CDC's CSO 2.0 came out that defined "highly vaccinated" ships wouldn't need masks and anything less than "highly vaccinated" by the CDC definition would be virtually impossible to sail.  The CDC created their CSO 2.0 so that no cruise line would attempt to sail anything but "highly vaccinated".  The CDC couldn't establish a vax mandate but they could make it really ugly to perform a cruise with less than 95% vax rates so that's what they did.  

Royal has always taken steps in the direction to try to allow unvax to sail but they have always been kept from achieving that by either the destinations or the CDC.  If anyone,  NCL wanted a vax mandate.  NCL took Florida to court over it.  Royal never jumped on that bandwagon.  

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16 hours ago, Matt said:

cruises going to Bahamas and/or CocoCay will require everyone to vaccinated.  

I don't think so as other lines such as Virgin Voyages & Margaritaville at Sea both offer cruises that stop in the Bahamas at ports such as Freeport & Bimini and both allow non vaccinated cruisers to sail without any medical exemption. 

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17 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Interesting, that in the beginning, it was really the other way around.  Royal desperately wanted a vax mandate but Florida passed a [utterly useless] law that prevented the cruiselines from requiring a vax to sail so when the Bahamas made it their requirement , the cruiseline(s) said, “Sorry, nothing we can do.  Must comply with the Bahamian government”, and the vax mandate was born.  Now, it seems that the Bahamas are clinging to the mandates/protocols.

I'm not sure that is correct.  

From the beginning Royal was 100% onboard with testing all passengers over the age of 2 years old but they were not one of the cruise lines who wanted a vaccine mandate.  Royal took steps to demonstrate with the right protocols unvaccinated individuals could sail the same as vaccinated.  

The cruise line that was desperate for a vaccine mandate was Norwegian Cruise Lines which took the extraordinary step of actually banning unvaccinated individuals (children) from all their ships when cruising resumed because at the time there was no vaccine approved for children under the age of 18.  Norwegian propped themselves on a really high pedestal because they were the only major cruise lines in the US sailing at 100% fully vaccinated and tested and they tried to use it as a selling point that they were the safest cruise line sailing from any US port.  That was until the Delta variant brought them back down to Earth in spectacular fashion with a major covid outbreak on one of their 100% fully vaccinated cruises in early fall of 2021.  

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Now here is something curious... while scrolling through the various cruise ship pages now that this new pre-sail testing guidance is out, I read this on the Carnival pages:

Due to destination requirements, ALL guests on itineraries that include Bahamas, Bermuda and Grand Cayman must complete a pre-cruise test, irrespective of the length of the cruise.

Now as a Florida cruiser leaving through Port Canaveral, almost all of the RC itineraries stop in the Bahamas and they are not saying this.  I am thinking the real guidance has yet to be promulgated so stand by.

 

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This is on The Islands of the Bahamas website in regards to travel requirements:

 

Please note: All cruise ship passengers ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated to enter a port in The Bahamas, including a cruise line’s private island. Any person who is ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccination due to medical contraindications is exempt from this requirement.

 

 

Pre-Boarding Testing

  • Cruise lines may have different requirements for pre-boarding testing. Please check with your cruise line for specific details pertaining to your cruise.
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Is it a surprise to anyone posting here that the lack of clarity on testing and vaccination requirements is missing?

If you're hoping a federal agency (i.e., HHS or the CDC) is going to clear all this up for US ports, forget it. Some important facts bearing on the questions posed here:

In the US and the European Common Market (goes beyond EU Member states) guidance on COVID mitigation measures has always deferred to state and local health authorities to make the rules. That has produced a patch-work of vaccine and spread of COVID mitigation measure requirements for public and private settings. It's a mess, has been for over 28 months and still is.

Lacking consistent guidance from appropriate authority, I don't blame the cruise lines for their disparate approaches to requiring vaccination or COVID testing to board a cruise ship..... the current environment allows each to his own and IMO, is being driven by liability and cost issues. Go with the flow. Outside the US........

Travel within the European Common Market has required keeping close tabs on each countries COVID related entry requirements. It wasn't easy as travel in Europe started opening up and I've traveled their 3x since cruising restarted in June of '21. Each time it has gotten easier as, consistent with the EUCDC guidance, most country health authorities have now dropped or local officials and businesses don't enforce straggler mandates (clearing passport control usually requires proof of vaccination - your CDC card works for that; it didn't in the past due to forgeries).

Just completed 27d of travel in Europe including a Rhine River cruise that transited the Netherlands,, Germany, France and Switzerland. Switzerland (not an EU member state) has abandoned all previous COVID related mandates. Our river cruise on MS Grace, among river boats in Tauck's line, carried 90 passengers, all Americans by design. To board you had to have proof of being "fully vaccinated" and your last vaccination could not be more than 270d old. Boosters are generally not required but the 270d thing almost guarantees you will need a 3rd or even a 4th shot.  No pre-cruise testing was required and I believe that is the standard for major EU member states and ECM states. Masks per local regulations but while we carried masks ashore (not required on board), no one in any of our ports of call were enforcing wearing them outside or notably inside including public transportation. 

If you are cruising from European ports in the next 90d or so, don't expect the situation to clarify wrt vaccination and testing requirements. That's because the EUCDC recommends but does not mandate anything so mandates vary by country. What I did find in Tauck's case is that what I was required to do on the ship and wherever we ported, including fly in and fly out airports was crystal clear. RCL would benefit from simply stating requirements that they are comfortable with placing safety above convenience for their European cruises, like Tauck did, and stick with them regardless of what the EUCDC is doing.

I get that it is frustrating for guests already booked on a cruise from European ports. Here's my take: Generally, you will not be required to test to fly into and enter EU or ECM countries. This is going to put pressure on Cruise lines that are still requiring testing to board to drop those requirements. Keep close track of this at your cruise line web site. If you end up needing to test, locate the testing sites at your departure and arrival airports and plan accordingly using the 2/3d pre-test time frame. I've used these on our first trip. It was accessible, simple and reasonably priced.

Generally, to enter Europe, you will be required to be vaccinated and your last shot cannot be more than 270 days old. Air travel in Europe is chaotic but manageable. Get your head straight that everything involving air travel is going to take longer and plan your connections accordingly. Connections under 2h isn't recommended. Within Europe, take the trains if you can to avoid the airport chaos.

On return to the states, I spent 4.5h in Schipol Airport in Amsterdam  checking in, dropping luggage and clearing security. There were thousands of travelers doing what I was doing and staff, already short of them, are just overwhelmed. If you can buy priority boarding as part of your Economy class ticket, do it... or fly Business where it's included. It will get you through throngs in line for security faster. On arrival, you'll have to clear passport control. Major European airports have this down. We went through Lisbon and Amsterdam. Note that when traveling within the Schengen region (e.g., like we did between Lisbon and Amsterdam, you do not need to pass through passport control. It was super quick from debarkation to exit. Expect baggage delays but they aren't awful.

On the first leg of your travel from the US to and EU country, book a seat close to the exit used for debarkation and get off the plain and head to passport control ASAP to avoid ques. They will be there, because your flight won't be the only early am arrival that requires passengers to clear passport control, but they seem to move fast. Boarding is a different story.  Be prepared for flight cancellations and use your airline's phone app to see what's available when your flight is cancelled and book it ASAP. Get the best travel insurance you can afford to buy. Happy European travel.  

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Latest discussion is very interesting.  I    am headed out on Aug 8th.  Normally I    book all on my own.  This time I  used MEI, too.  They treated me awesome.

I    enjoy engaged banter and discussion.  Can't wait to do it on a ship with you folks in the future, in depth thoroughly.  If you don't want to buy the drink package beause it costs a fortune....I    will find a way to sneak you one. 😉 

For the sake of simplicity, can we all just lobby for TODAY.

2020 Protocols ....It's the past.  Who did what, when they did it, how they did.  We can argue the facts, the data, the measures, etc. etc....PAST no impact today

2021 Protocols ....It's the past.  We can debate who launched first, who ranked best with CDC, who complied the best, took care of their employees best, cut their losses the best, restructured billions best, etc. etc.  PAST no impact today.

2022 Today, right now, current climate, current status, remove all the past baggage of timing, politics, variants, blah blah blah.  NONE of the restrictive additional protocols in place today make any logical, mathematical, impactful sense other than the ones mom taught us when we were kids.  They simply congest, cause stress, irritate, waste money and we all will continue to pay for it.

DROP THEM ALL.  I'll take "rolling" them back gingerly, but simply lay it out there and tell these locations to alter or the ship alters the stop.  The revenue is enormous and they will alter policy.  RCCL will rally its customers by taking a stand.  

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3 hours ago, CharmMicah68 said:

Latest discussion is very interesting.  I    am headed out on Aug 8th.  Normally I    book all on my own.  This time I  used MEI, too.  They treated me awesome.

I    enjoy engaged banter and discussion.  Can't wait to do it on a ship with you folks in the future, in depth thoroughly.  If you don't want to buy the drink package beause it costs a fortune....I    will find a way to sneak you one. 😉 

For the sake of simplicity, can we all just lobby for TODAY.

2020 Protocols ....It's the past.  Who did what, when they did it, how they did.  We can argue the facts, the data, the measures, etc. etc....PAST no impact today

2021 Protocols ....It's the past.  We can debate who launched first, who ranked best with CDC, who complied the best, took care of their employees best, cut their losses the best, restructured billions best, etc. etc.  PAST no impact today.

2022 Today, right now, current climate, current status, remove all the past baggage of timing, politics, variants, blah blah blah.  NONE of the restrictive additional protocols in place today make any logical, mathematical, impactful sense other than the ones mom taught us when we were kids.  They simply congest, cause stress, irritate, waste money and we all will continue to pay for it.

DROP THEM ALL.  I'll take "rolling" them back gingerly, but simply lay it out there and tell these locations to alter or the ship alters the stop.  The revenue is enormous and they will alter policy.  RCCL will rally its customers by taking a stand.  

But how many customers rally?  How many are willing to drop cococay (including RC as it is a big money maker for them) for this?  I imagine the majority wouldn't be willing to drop cococay to take a stand against the bahamas.  I know I wouldn't.  I have zero desire to lose a stop on my cruise.

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5 hours ago, CharmMicah68 said:

DROP THEM ALL.  I'll take "rolling" them back gingerly, but simply lay it out there and tell these locations to alter or the ship alters the stop.  The revenue is enormous and they will alter policy.  RCCL will rally its customers by taking a stand.  

But why?

Royal ships have been sailing at 100% capacity in the Caribbean.   Some are as high as 106% when using double occupancy as the baseline.   

Why would Royal upset the apple cart?  To try for 110%?  What's in it for Royal?  Some think they need to scale back until they can hire more crew.  Ultimately I'm all for getting back to the old normal.  I have no issues cruising with anyone.  I still don't see any cruise line telling an island destination to stick it and upset the 100% that are sailing right now by removing destinations from itineraries.

Virgin is desperate.  They need gimmicks to attract "sailors".  Royal not so much.  Long term Royal wants to get back to the old normal as much as we do, I just don't see the motivation to shun the Bahamas or Bermuda.

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8 hours ago, CharmMicah68 said:

Latest discussion is very interesting.  I    am headed out on Aug 8th.  Normally I    book all on my own.  This time I  used MEI, too.  They treated me awesome.

I    enjoy engaged banter and discussion.  Can't wait to do it on a ship with you folks in the future, in depth thoroughly.  If you don't want to buy the drink package beause it costs a fortune....I    will find a way to sneak you one. 😉 

 

Everyone booked with MEI now on line to their TA asking why they didn't get free drinks package lol

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16 hours ago, CharmMicah68 said:

2022 Today, right now, current climate, current status, remove all the past baggage of timing, politics, variants, blah blah blah.  NONE of the restrictive additional protocols in place today make any logical, mathematical, impactful sense other than the ones mom taught us when we were kids.  They simply congest, cause stress, irritate, waste money and we all will continue to pay for it.

DROP THEM ALL.  I'll take "rolling" them back gingerly, but simply lay it out there and tell these locations to alter or the ship alters the stop.  The revenue is enormous and they will alter policy.  RCCL will rally its customers by taking a stand.  

I understand what you are saying however it isn't a dictatorship where the cruise line dictate to these Island nations their list of demands.  It is more like a partnership between the cruise lines and the nations in the Caribbean. 

You say the revenue is enormous (and it is) and they will alter policy.  However, if there is one thing the pandemic has shown it is the resiliency of the islands of the Caribbean. These islands survived more than a year without any revenue from cruise lines all their tourist revenue came through tourist flying to their nation on aircraft.  For some people the ship is the destination others choose a cruise not based on the ship but based on the islands the ship will visit. Start removing ports of call and cruise lines could start loosing passengers who choose their cruise based on destinations served. Removing ports of call to try and teach a Caribbean Island nation a lesson or show them who's boss could absolutely backfire. And just like the nations airlines step up service to the Caribbean when cruising was suspended they would have no problem add that capacity back to their schedules to accommodate tourist if cruise lines start dropping ports of call. 

Lastly your suggest of dropping ports may work from May through October, but what about November through April?  The fall/winter timeframe is when a majority of Carnival, NCL, Royal, Celebrity, Princess, Disney, Holland America Line, are all sailing to more destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico than at any other time of the year.  If cruise lines start dropping/altering ports to get islands to alter their policies they will run out of ports of call to visit from November through April. Only so many ships can visit a port at one time so dropping ports hurts the cruise line especially seeing some of these larger ships have a limited number of ports  in the Caribbean they can actually visit.

The answer is for the cruise lines and these island nations to work together toward a mutually beneficial deal where everybody wins without one party drawing a line in the sand because they think they are holding all the cards.

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10 minutes ago, jticarruthers said:

I was excited to start booking again but since the vast majority of my cruises touch the Bahamas ... I am back to being uninterested again.

Tired of wasting time and money testing, etc. when I can do other things with other people without having to worry about it.

Yeah, I also got pretty excited until the Bahamas-thing reared it's head, unfortunately. Definitely should have known better after all this time.  

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