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Whats the latest with removing the vax mandate? Thank you for the response!!!


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Both Carnival and NCL have buried in their policies verbiage to the effect "guests are subject to local destination regulations".

What neither are saying is what will happen to guests who book and don't meet local destination requirements at time of boarding.

The Bahamas remains a key component and it was the Bahamas that started the vaccine requirement back in August and September of 2021 when Royal was trying to let unvaccinated cruise.  However there are also a few other destinations in play.

It appears to me that NCL and Carnival are gambling that the Bahamas will remove their regulations any day now but they are burying verbiage to protect themselves in case the Bahamas drags their feet more.  As a consumer that should concern anyone who doesn't meet "local destinations requirements".

Royal's approach continues to be they will relax requirements once the destinations have relaxed requirements.  

It's easy to glance at headlines and cast shade on Royal.   In reality Royal's approach is more transparent and consumer friendly in the long run.  They are not putting the onus on the guests to ensure they are compliant which will lead to bitter dissatisfaction for any guests who books NCL or Carnival but is denied boarding should it come to that. 

I have to think NCL and Carnival are both lobbying the Bahamas very hard at the moment as senior executives play chicken with the Bahamas.  Yet they placed CYA verbiage in their policy to protect themselves if the Bahamas doesn't flinch.  If it comes down to the wire and the Bahamas doesn't change their requirements it's their guests who don't meet the requirements that will lose.  

I might not like it but Royal is taking the better approach by sparing guests who don't meet local destination requirements.  They are not opening the floodgates only to potentially drown anyone who has jumped prematurely into the water.

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Twangster is absolutely correct both NCL and Carnival have buried their policy verbiage so deep that this morning even the Today Show on NBC which did a report on cruise lines dropping testing and vaccine requirements missed, didn't read it and did not report on it.  

All they did was focus on the headlines NCL, and Carnival have made over the pass few weeks with their announcements, and the fact that NCL is now reporting a near 40% increase in bookings, Carnival is reporting booking have double since their announcement.  They also had a travel agent whom they interview who reported that his agency has seen a 200%-300% increase in cruise bookings and he didn't even mention anything about the warning to unvaccinated travelers. There was no mention at all in the NBC piece this morning that unvaccinated individuals should read the fine print before purchasing.

If local regulations don't change at destination I fear there will be a lot of angry and irate passengers at the embarkation port when they are denied boarding because they do not meet entry requirements.

 

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@twangster and @JasonOasis said exactly what I mean.

Royal has done a good job of crossing T's and dotting I's during the whole restart and getting back to cruising. They have a good offering and make it easy to understand what protocols are in place. I have already read horror stories of people being overzealous and booking with these lines only for stipulations and rules to cause headaches......i.e., not all ports will allow unvaxx to get off.

I can't wait for testing to be over, as it is an added expense and for some an ultimate stressor. But I am not going to book with NCL or CCL because I don't like their offerings. CCL has the worse decor of all cruise lines. I like what I like, and I will put up with testing if I have to. 

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In the end all these cruise lines will be in the same place. RC can afford to wait it out a bit more until they get the cover from the CDC (which is coming for congregate settings) and cover from the island nations who are about to change their guidance since they follow CDC guidance anyway.

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18 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

In the end all these cruise lines will be in the same place. RC can afford to wait it out a bit more until they get the cover from the CDC (which is coming for congregate settings) and cover from the island nations who are about to change their guidance since they follow CDC guidance anyway.

I am surprised that cruises from Florida were not on the 1st round of sailings allowing unvaxed individuals.  I am hoping we hear something soon for Florida and the ports those cruises tend to visit.  

If this has been stated, my bad.  TL;DR

 

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37 minutes ago, DublinFC said:

I am surprised that cruises from Florida were not on the 1st round of sailings allowing unvaxed individuals.  I am hoping we hear something soon for Florida and the ports those cruises tend to visit.  

If this has been stated, my bad.  TL;DR

 

Its not necassarily the homeport that dictates the protocols, but the places they visit. Florida already tried to get rid of the vax mandate from the cruise lines a year ago but the mandates are requirements of the places the cruise lines visit. 

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37 minutes ago, DublinFC said:

I am surprised that cruises from Florida were not on the 1st round of sailings allowing unvaxed individuals.

Bahamas, Bahamas, Bahamas. Until they relax restrictions on vax requirements for 12+ (which I expect will be soon since they follow CDC guidelines) that's why Florida isn't yet included.

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16 minutes ago, Vancity Cruiser said:

Its not necassarily the homeport that dictates the protocols, but the places they visit. Florida already tried to get rid of the vax mandate from the cruise lines a year ago but the mandates are requirements of the places the cruise lines visit. 

The State of Florida is waiting on the Appeal, should be down any day now, if you listen to the oral arguments with the appeals court, sounds like the ruling will be in the favor of Florida 

  1. 21-12729 Case Number

     

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1 hour ago, The Cruiser said:

The State of Florida is waiting on the Appeal, should be down any day now, if you listen to the oral arguments with the appeals court, sounds like the ruling will be in the favor of Florida 

  1. 21-12729 Case Number

     

The case is meaningless though. If the destinations that the cruise ships are sailing to have requirements the cruise lines need to enforce these requirements regardless of what florida's requirements are.

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On 8/17/2022 at 11:39 AM, Just Me said:

Yuup.  That's what I saw but asked anyway.  Go figure.  🙂

 

Carnival has a great chart on their website that lists different ports and their vaccine or testing requirements. I wish RC would just rip the band-aid off and let unvaxxed be responsible for what ports require what when disembarking. Or just let me stay on the ship… I’m ok with that too. 

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6 hours ago, twangster said:

Both Carnival and NCL have buried in their policies verbiage to the effect "guests are subject to local destination regulations".

What neither are saying is what will happen to guests who book and don't meet local destination requirements at time of boarding.

The Bahamas remains a key component and it was the Bahamas that started the vaccine requirement back in August and September of 2021 when Royal was trying to let unvaccinated cruise.  However there are also a few other destinations in play.

It appears to me that NCL and Carnival are gambling that the Bahamas will remove their regulations any day now but they are burying verbiage to protect themselves in case the Bahamas drags their feet more.  As a consumer that should concern anyone who doesn't meet "local destinations requirements".

Royal's approach continues to be they will relax requirements once the destinations have relaxed requirements.  

It's easy to glance at headlines and cast shade on Royal.   In reality Royal's approach is more transparent and consumer friendly in the long run.  They are not putting the onus on the guests to ensure they are compliant which will lead to bitter dissatisfaction for any guests who books NCL or Carnival but is denied boarding should it come to that. 

I have to think NCL and Carnival are both lobbying the Bahamas very hard at the moment as senior executives play chicken with the Bahamas.  Yet they placed CYA verbiage in their policy to protect themselves if the Bahamas doesn't flinch.  If it comes down to the wire and the Bahamas doesn't change their requirements it's their guests who don't meet the requirements that will lose.  

I might not like it but Royal is taking the better approach by sparing guests who don't meet local destination requirements.  They are not opening the floodgates only to potentially drown anyone who has jumped prematurely into the water.

So the Bahamas won’t even let a ship dock if all the guests don’t meet their requirements? I thought the ship could dock but only those vaxxed could get off. Kind of like what RC is doing at Grand Cayman.

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49 minutes ago, KBrad said:

So the Bahamas won’t even let a ship dock if all the guests don’t meet their requirements? I thought the ship could dock but only those vaxxed could get off. Kind of like what RC is doing at Grand Cayman.

Through the restart the Bahamas didn't differentiate between staying on the ship versus getting off.  

When a ship arrives in a foreign port the entire manifest is presented to that nation and everyone on the ship, guests and crew is processed by that nation's immigration officials.  Once you have been processed by their immigration officials you are legally in that country.  It doesn't matter if you get off the ship or not. 

If you are not processed by another nation's immigration officials you would be in violation of the US PVSA laws having never visited another country.  

The Bahamas has always had one set of rules for fly in tourists and a separate set of rules for cruise ships guests, at least once they allowed cruise ships to visit.  

Early in the restart there were some countries that allowed ships to enter and only vax were allowed to debark but that was applied to children only since they had requirements that any person eligible to vaccinate must be vaccinated.  I recall angry Carnival customers at guest services claiming no one told them their children couldn't leave the ship because kids under 12 (at the time) couldn't be vaccinated.  They found out when trying to get off and the buzzer denied their children.  

As far as I know, only the Caymans has a policy that allows unvax to remain on the ship. Cayman's joined the party much later having remained closed to all cruise ships until more recently.  Their policies have always been different than other nations.  

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1 hour ago, KBrad said:

Carnival has a great chart on their website that lists different ports and their vaccine or testing requirements. I wish RC would just rip the band-aid off and let unvaxxed be responsible for what ports require what when disembarking. Or just let me stay on the ship… I’m ok with that too. 

That is easy to say however there are some destinations that will not even allow unvaccinated guest to embark the cruise at the embarkation port but the cruise line will still allow the unvaccinated guest to purchase the cruise.  In the fine print you will notice the cruise line will not advise you of your ineligibility until you are at the embarkation port.  Some destinations will not allow unvaccinated guest to disembark the ship, while other destinations require unvaccinated guest to test 48 hour prior to ships arrival in port.  Depending on the length of the cruise (lets say 7 nights) you could visit 3, 4, or even 5 ports depending on the embarkation port. From the US that could be up to 5 different countries with different entry requirements for unvaccinated individuals that the unvaccinated guest would need to look up first before they purchase the cruise. 

With NCL reporting a near 40% increase, Carnival reporting over 50% increase and according to the Today Show report a travel agent reported a 200%-300% increase I wonder how many of those customers are unvaccinated and how many of them read the fine print v.s. how many of them just booked a cruise bases solely off the headlines?  I wish everyone was as responsible and diligent as you but if entry requirements don't change for the unvaccinated this will certainly blow back on the cruise lines.  

One last thing if people have purchased non-refundable cruises and they don't have travel insurance and they don't find out until they arrive at the embarkation port that they can't even board the ship, correct me if I'm wrong but I think the normal cancellation policy applies, which means they loose all their money.  How do you think that will play out port-side? 

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24 minutes ago, JasonOasis said:

With NCL reporting a near 40% increase, Carnival reporting over 50% increase and according to the Today Show report a travel agent reported a 200%-300% increase I wonder how many of those customers are unvaccinated and how many of them read the fine print v.s. how many of them just booked a cruise bases solely off the headlines?  I wish everyone was as responsible and diligent as you but if entry requirements don't change for the unvaccinated this will certainly blow back on the cruise lines.  

This is why, as much as I didn't like it at first, Royal may have the best approach right now.  They aren't shifting it to guests to figure out, Royal is taking the high road and shouldn't suffer blow back IF local destination requirements stay in place beyond early September.

NCL and CCL have taken a big gamble.  "Read the fine print" isn't going to go over weil if they have to deny boarding guests in the terminal.  

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At the end of the day just like those who didn't get vaccine for whatever reason, Companies and Countries will when they feel the time is right do whats best for them. 

We can't complain about Companies or countries not changing their stance when some people have done exactly the same when it came to vaccines.

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No sense in officially announcing a massive policy change until they can actually uphold that change and not have to walk it back.  Having a different set of rules for each country that the ship visits puts a lot of stress on the cruise lines to make sure they are enforcing those rules and blocking the correct set of people from leaving the ship without testing or vax proof.  

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On 8/18/2022 at 11:38 AM, The Cruiser said:

The State of Florida is waiting on the Appeal, should be down any day now, if you listen to the oral arguments with the appeals court, sounds like the ruling will be in the favor of Florida 

  1. 21-12729 Case Number

     

 

On 8/18/2022 at 1:20 PM, Vancity Cruiser said:

The case is meaningless though. If the destinations that the cruise ships are sailing to have requirements the cruise lines need to enforce these requirements regardless of what florida's requirements are.

The case is just wasting Florida taxpayers money is all it is doing.  I don't know why we spend the money to appeal something that in the end doesn't matter.

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FYI for those who had had the same question and have looked at the Bahamas website (www.bahamas.com/travelupdates).  I just chatted with a representative from the Bahamas website regarding the Bahamas protocols and the following is a copy of the chat:

Hi and hope all is well in the Bahamas! I wanted to have clarification regarding your Covid-19 vaccination protocols for cruise passenger visitors. I have heard from others Bahamas have changed their policy to allow cruise passengers without the Covid-19 vaccination to visit. Please clarify if this change has been made. Thanks.

Good Day, thank you for contacting the Islands of The Bahamas. This is Reagan, with whom do I have the pleasure of communicating today?

you sent

This is Mary. Hi Reagan!

Bahamas Chat Agent 2 sent

Hi Mary

The same requirements are for all visitors whether cruise or air.

COVID Requirements: VACCINATED TRAVELLERS Effective 19 June 2022 fully vaccinated travelers will no longer be required to submit to pre-travel COVID-19 testing to enter the country. Instead, valid proof of vaccination must be presented before boarding a flight to The Bahamas. UNVACCINATED TRAVELLERS Effective 19 June 2022, all unvaccinated travelers ages 2 and older will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test — either a negative RT-PCR test or a Rapid Antigen test — taken no more than three days (72 hours) before travel and present the negative test results at check-in before travel to The Bahamas. Children under the age of 2 are exempt from any testing requirements. Please note: COVID-19 testing is no longer required for persons traveling inter-island (domestic) within The Bahamas, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status (unvaccinated or fully vaccinated).

Once you follow your cruise lines protocol then you are able to disembark upon arrival.

you sent

Thank you Reagan!

Bahamas Chat Agent 2 sent

You're welcome!

you sent

Thank you again, Reagan. I was wondering if the bahamas.com website will be revised to reflect the changes. There's a lot of chatter on-line about the website protocols. Thanks.

Bahamas Chat Agent 2 sent

It will, and our apologies for any confusion

you sent

No problem here. Glad to chat. Have a lovely evening!

Bahamas Chat Agent 2 sent

Thank you, wishing the same for you

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I get from this chat that to enter the Bahamas, you still must show proof of vaccination.

As I understand the flow of posts in this particular thread  - What's the Latest on Removing the Vax Mandate - the posts go back and forth between discussing pre-arrival testing and vax requirements to enter various ports. 

RCG has made testing and vax requirements for all ages to board regardless of departure port and itinerary as crystal clear as possible. I'm not going to repeat the guidelines but if you're planning on cruising, you have to pay attention to published guidelines at the RCL (or Celebrity) web sites They do vary by port of departure and by countries visited. 

Pre-arrival testing is not required and has not been required for vaccinated visitors entering the Bahamas since June 19th 2022. So, I don't see the point of this post. WRT the Bahama Island's vax requirements, nothing has changed. WRT pre-arrival testing, authorities there removed the requirement for vaxed visitors 3 months ago. 

If you're not paying attention it's easy to overlook what you and your party need to do to sail. In preparing this post, I visited Celebrity's web site > Healthy at Sea > click on the region your visiting/ports you are sailing from > (in the case of my interests) > Updated Guidance for Cruises Departing the U.S. Beginning August 8, 2022. I can find exactly what I need to do regarding vaccinations and pre-boarding testing and will comply

What is potentially revealing here is that on this page, there are links to "for Bermuda guidelines," "for Canada guidelines," and for sailing from Los Angeles guidelines."  Only the "sailing from LA guidelines is live. The other two lead to a page displaying "BAD REQUEST."  Something in the works for an announcement next week?

 I posted elsewhere within the last couple of days that I thought we'd see RCG eliminate the need for pre-cruise testing for cruises leaving US ports on itineraries six nights or longer (RCG already removed these for sailings of 5 or less days) within the next two weeks. I'm cruising from Port Everglades on 9/17/22, B2B 9/24/22 so, I'm obviously interested in the removal of pre-cruise testing requirements. There are already no pre-cruise testing requirements for B2B guests with the stipulation that if ports on these itineraries should require COVID testing, Celebrity will provide them at no cost to guests.

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For All Sailings Departing on or after September 5, 2022 from U.S. Homeports with No Stops in Bermuda or Canada 

If your cruise visits Bermuda or Canada, test protocols for your cruise are in the next section. 

Guests 5 years of age and older who are not fully vaccinated must bring a negative test result for a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within the 3 days before boarding day, regardless of the duration of their cruise.

Fully vaccinated guests 5 years of age and older must bring a negative test result for a COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within the 3 days before boarding day on sailings that are 10 nights or longer only. Testing is not required for fully vaccinated guests on shorter itineraries. 

Guests younger than 5 do not have any testing requirements.

Required testing for all guests, regardless of vaccination status, can be completed using any type of PCR or antigen test. It can be professionally proctored by a healthcare professional, such as your doctor or pharmacist, or you can use a home test kit. Home test kits are not required to be conducted under live video supervision. 

Tests must be arranged on your own and are at your own expense. 

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13 minutes ago, twangster said:

As far as testing, for the US after Sept. 5 you can use a self administered home test that isn't proctored

So I wonder what counts as proof of negative test. Do you bring the test kit? Or just attest that you took a test and it's negative?

 

 

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I definitely think this Royal Caribbean verbiage is much more consumer friendly compared to NCL or Carnival policies.

 

What if I book a cruise, protocols change, and I can’t sail because I am not vaccinated?

Protocols for each sailing are confirmed, via email and on our website, no less than 30 days before you sail. Should protocols for your sailing change upon that confirmation, and you are unable to travel due to your vaccination status, we will move you to a new sailing where your vaccination status is accepted or provide you a refund.

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14 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

  

So I wonder what counts as proof of negative test. Do you bring the test kit? Or just attest that you took a test and it's negative?

 

 

Looks like you can take a picture of a self administrated home test and use that, or bring the actual test with you.

Not including Alaska or NE cruises (thanks Canada) or Bermuda.

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16 hours ago, JeffB said:

In preparing this post, I visited Celebrity's web site > Healthy at Sea > click on the region your visiting/ports you are sailing from > (in the case of my interests) > Updated Guidance for Cruises Departing the U.S. Beginning August 8, 2022. I can find exactly what I need to do regarding vaccinations and pre-boarding testing and will comply

I posted this yesterday (Sunday) and as well noted that certain links pertaining to testing and vaccination requirements to sail at the Celebrity web site were dead suggesting this might mean change is afoot. It happened.

Visiting the Celebrity web site this morning (and per Matt's front page story for RCL), vax and testing guidelines have been updated on the Celebrity web site. For all sailings Starting September 5th the new guidleines apply. The display and user-interface to find the information on vaccination and testing requirements to board is easy to use. The onerous portions, (IMO) the requirement that COVID tests be monitored, has been eliminated for vaxed guests on cruises 9d or less. To me, the best thing wrt the changes are that where COVID testing is required to board (e.g., unvaxed), you can use unmonitored self-tests.

I agree with others here that have commented that RCG played rolling out new vax and testing guidelines well - better than those other lines that jumped on the CDC updates, literally within hours, causing a lot of confusion for their guests and TAs. RCG waited to get everything right. Tips hat.  I've not looked at how the guidelines are displayed and accessed by guests at RCL's website but here's the link to the Celebrity's well done Health and Safety section at their web site. They've also updated their FAQs for all matters pertaining to vaccines and testing:

https://www.celebritycruises.com/health-and-safety

https://www.celebritycruises.com/healthy-at-sea/faqs

    

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