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Royal Caribbean will accept certificate of covid recovery instead of pre-cruise test

10 Mar 2022

Good news for Royal Caribbean guests who have recovered from Covid-19. The cruise line has updated its health protocols for sailings from March 11, 2022, onward to better accommodate them.

Independence of the Seas aerial view birds eye

In an email to guests and travel agents yesterday, Royal Caribbean issued new health protocols that apply to all cruises sailing from the U.S., with the exception of Puerto Rico.

Guests sailing out of these ports will now have the option to submit a Certificate of Recovery if they have had Covid-19 at least 11 days before sailing, however, some restrictions do apply.

Here's a look at the latest protocols.

Certificate of Recovery

As part of updated testing requirements, Royal Caribbean has added new guidelines for those guests who have previously contracted Covid 19.

For sailings from the United States (except Puerto Rico), on or after March 11, 2022, a Certificate of Recovery will be accepted for a positive COVID-19 case at least 11 days before boarding, but no more than 90 days ago.

This would take the place of a pre-cruise negative Covid-19 test result required to board the ship. Guests will need to provide the following documents:  

  1. A certified medical health certificate from a doctor stating that the guest has fully recovered from Covid-19, and must adhere to the following requirements:
    • Official letterhead from a healthcare provider, public health official or telehealth provider showing:
      • Their name
      • Their address
      • Their phone number
      • Confirmation of your recovery and completion of isolation 
    • Must be typed (not handwritten) and signed by the provider
    • Must confirm the sample collection date of the positive PCR test, which must be a minimum of 11 days and a maximum of 90 days before the departure date of your cruise
    • Date of validity must extend throughout the duration of your cruise
  2. A positive result document for a COVID-19 PCR test taken a minimum of 11 days and a maximum of 90 days before the departure date of your cruise. An antigen test result will not be accepted with a Certificate of Recovery.  Also:
    • The test results document from your test provider must include the name of the lab that processed the test, the lab’s CLIA Lab Number or Certification Number, the address of the lab, your name, the date the test was taken, type of test, and your positive result.
    • This can be a printed document, email, or telehealth app notification. Fully handwritten doctor’s notes (such as those written on a prescription pad) will not be accepted. Minimal handwritten components (such as a check mark on a “positive” box) are acceptable as long as the other required information is printed on the document.

Restrictions and Limitations

Royal Caribbean is careful to note that a Certificate of Recovery will not be accepted in lieu of a vaccination record card for guests of vaccine eligible age. All Royal Caribbean guests aged 12 and older must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing

Although Royal Caribbean will accept a Certificate of Recover that meets all of the noted requirements, many countries are not currently accepting them. In these ports, guests who provided certificates would not be allowed to disembark.

. These ports include:

  • Curacao
  • St. Kitts
  • Panama
  • Panama Canal
  • Jamaica
  • Bonaire
  • Belize
  • St. Lucia
  • Guatemala
  • Colombia
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • St. Vincent
  • the Grenadines
  • Grenada
  • Haiti
  • Cayman Islands
  • Bermuda

International use of Certificate of Recovery

As reported in September of 2021, Royal Caribbean had previously allowed guests who had recovered from Covid-19, to submit recovery letters for departures outside of the United States.

At that time, guests were required to produce a certificate that verified that either the guest was diagnosed with Covid-19 within the 90 days prior to their sail date or that they were sailing before the end date noted on the Certificate of Recovery.

New protocols for Mediterranean sailings for spring and summer 2022 have yet to be released. 

Existing Guidelines and Protocols

Cruise ship in Grand Cayman

The update from Royal Caribbean does not note any other significant changes to protocols for U.S. Sailings. The main requirements:

Vaccination requirements

The same vaccine requirements remain in place. They are:

  • All guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.
  • Children aged 5 to 11 are not required to be vaccinated, however, as they are eligible, Royal Caribbean recommends they receive their vaccine before sailing.
  • Children with one dose of a vaccine do not count as fully vaccinated for the purpose of sailing. 

Although not currently required by Royal Caribbean the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended Covid-19 vaccine booster doses for those eligible, prior to cruise travel.

Royal Caribbean, "strongly recommends" guests get boosted before their cruise.

Pre-cruise testing

Other existing Covid-19 testing rules remain unchanged:

Cruises from U.S. homeports (except Puerto Rico)

  • Pre-Cruise: All guests 2 years and older must present a negative COVID-19 test result.
    • Vaccinated guests ages 12 years and over must take a PCR or antigen test no more than 2 days prior to sailing.
    • Unvaccinated children ages 2 to 11 years must take a PCR test no more than 3 days prior to sailing. A test may not be taken on boarding day.
    • Antigen tests are not accepted for unvaccinated guests.
    • There is no testing required for guests under age 2.
    • Pre-cruise testing costs and scheduling are the guest's responsibility.  

Embarkation Day: Unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 will take a complimentary antigen test for Covid-19 during check-in. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.

Onboard: For sailings that are 5 nights or longer, unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 will take a complimentary antigen test prior to debarkation. Sailings longer than 10 nights may have additional onboard testing requirements. Registration details will be provided onboard.

Face masks

Masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests. 

Unvaccinated children should expect to continue wearing masks indoors and in crowded settings.

Masks are required for all children aged 2 and older while at the Adventure Ocean youth program. Guests under 2 do not have to wear a mask at any time. Royal Caribbean asks that guests make a reservation before bringing their child to Adventure Ocean

Dining and other venues

Royal Caribbean no longer has designated vaccinated zones for eating and other onboard venues such as the theatre, spa and gym.  

Royal Caribbean recommends making reservations for dining before the cruise or via the app while onboard.

The cruise line has already discontinued the use of bracelets to identify vaccinated guests in venues.

Shore excursions

Wonder of the Seas in Labadee

Families traveling with unvaccinated kids are required to purchase a tour through Royal Caribbean to go ashore with the exception of private destinations such as  Perfect Day at CocoCay and Labadee.

Some ports require all guests, regardless of vaccination status, to purchase tours through Royal Caribbean. These tours follow Royal Caribbean’s health guidance and are available at a variety of prices. 

As noted previously, guests who have submitted a Certificate of Recovery in lieu of a pre-departure negative Covid-19 test may not be eligible to disembark in some ports.

Royal Caribbean's parent company has changed its name

10 Jul 2020

It seems that Royal Caribbean International's parent company has changed its name from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to Royal Caribbean Group.

Over the last few weeks and months, the name change has slowly occured, where press releases, videos and now social media have been updated to reflect the new name.

It can be confusing to understand the corporate hierachy due to the closeness of the names, but Royal Caribbean Group is the parent company that owns Royal Caribbean International (the cruise line this blog covers), Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Group told Rob Zeiger told Seatrade Cruise News the name change was a matter of keeping things fresh, "We felt switching to Royal Caribbean Group is a more modern expression. Modifying and updating the crown and anchor and the company name seemed practical and useful to us."

In addition to the name change, the Royal Caribbean Group logo has also been updated.

Slow roll out

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the name change began, but it looks like the new name was used as early as May 2020, when Royal Caribbean scheduled its first quarter 2020 earnings call with investors.

The title of the press release to announce the call said "Royal Caribbean Group To Hold Conference Call On Business Update And First Quarter".

Since then, the name has made its way into more press releases, video updates, and most recently the company's social media and website presence.

Royal Caribbean Group updated its corportate website, as well as social media platforms to reflect the change right around when the Healthy Sail Panel announcement occured earlier this week.

Evolution of a name

The name "Royal Caribbean" goes back to the company's founding, and has evolved over time to reflect its growth as a company.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line A/S - familiarly reduced to RCCL - came into formal being on January 31, 1969. This was the winning choice for a name for the new company, rejecting other names, such as Pleasure Cruise Line, Holiday Cruise Line and Crown Cruise Line.

When RCCL purchased Celebrity Cruises in 1997, a new holding company was formed, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line changed its name to Royal Caribbean International.

Royal Caribbean Group's logo has also evolved with this name change.

The hallmark logo, the anker med krone, or crown, has been the company's logo since 1969.

Examples of Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor in various stages of design development

In fact, Royal Caribbean Group's headquarters in Miami were originally built so that if viewed from the sky, it looked like the Crown and Anchor logo.

With the change to Royal Caribbean Group, the logo has also changed ever so slightly.

Who owns Royal Caribbean?

13 Apr 2020

This blog is dedicated to Royal Caribbean International cruise line, but did you know that they are owned by another company and are among a few different cruise lines operated by an umbrella corporation?

Royal Caribbean International is owned by Royal Caribbean Group (formerly known as Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd).

Royal Caribbean Group logo

It can be confusing to make the distinction between Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) because the names are very similar, and decades ago, Royal Caribbean International used to be known as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, which means the acronyms are even confusing at times.

Royal Caribbean Group is the full or partial owner of a few different cruise lines:

  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Silversea
  • TUI Cruises (50% stake)

There are many people that make up the executives in Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, but Richard Fain is the most visible member, acting as the Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group.

Michael Bayley is the President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, and manages the cruise line operations.

The lines between the cruise line and the parent company can be confusing at times, as policies, news and announcements come from both companies.

A Brief History of Royal Caribbean

The full history of Royal Caribbean is too long to compile, but here is a breakdown of how Royal Caribbean Cruise Line went from a cruise line to a parent company.

In 1968, Royal Caribbean International was founded, with Song of Norway launching as the industry's first ship built for warm-weather cruising.

In 1997, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line purchased Celebrity Cruises. The decision was made to keep the two cruise line brands separate following the merger; as a result Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was re-branded Royal Caribbean International and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. was established as the new parent company of both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

In November 2006, Royal Caribbean Cruises purchased Pullmantur Cruises based in Madrid, Spain.

Azamara Club Cruises was created in May 2007 as a subsidiary of Celebrity Cruises.

Royal Caribbean also has an interest in TUI Cruises, which began operations in 2009 aimed at a German-speaking market.

In July 2018, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. completed the purchase of over 66.6% of shares of Silversea Cruises.

Royal Caribbean talks Perfect Day at CocoCay impact, booking trends, smart phone app impact and more

30 Jan 2019

Royal Caribbean held a call with investors to go over their record 2018 financial results and provide guidance for the coming year.  Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd earnings beat Wall Street expectations, benefiting from higher demand for its Caribbean cruises and passengers spending more money on activities while on board.

Between the fiscal anecdotes and figures shared, cruise fans could glean a few tidbits of interesting information.

Two powerful booking trends

At the beginning of the call, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain started off that two powerful trends are dominating bookings for Royal Caribbean: experiences over material possessions and favorable demographic shifts.

Mr. Fain spoke about what he is seeing in the market, "As we have been very vocal about two important and positive consumer trends. First, the trend in favor of experiences over material possessions, and second, the favorable demographic shifts.

We've been talking for a long time about how people have shifted their focus from buying TVs, cars, etc to buying memories or experiences. And that shift has become so powerful that I think it's now obvious to everybody.

At the same time, the demographic makeup of our population keeps shifting in our direction. 

These two trends have become increasingly powerful, and our company and our brands are well-positioned to benefit from these trends."

The first two weeks of Wave season have been fantastic

For those unaware, Wave season is the sales period that has historically taken place between January and March and stands out because a large percentage of cruisers book their sailings in the early months of the year. This year, Royal Caribbean has seen a record Wave season take place.

Richard Fain mentioned it at the top of the call, "Happily, the record-breaking start to Wave validates our confidence. And with Wave off to a wonderful start, our already good booked position continues to strengthen.  Bookings have been at higher levels than last year, and in fact we received more bookings during the first week of Wave than we have in any other week in our history...except for the second week in Wave, which was even better."

Royal Caribbean Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty also touched on the great start to the year, "Over the past three months, bookings have been higher than the same time last year.... In fact, two out of the past three weeks have been record-booking weeks for the company."

Perfect Day at CocoCay facts

With the launch of Perfect Day at CocoCay coming up in just a few months, Royal Caribbean sounded quite bullish on the impact it is already having and will have on the cruise line's bottom line.

Richard Fain commented on the impact Perfect Day at CocoCay will have on the cruise industry, "The island development will really shake-up the short-term cruise market, and I am confident that our guests will love it."

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley also had some interesting facts to share about Perfect Day, "When you look at Royal Caribbean International, we have I think 13 ships operating in the Caribbean during the year, and then when you look at the deployment of those ships to Perfect Day in 2019, I believe ten out of the thirteen ships are calling to Perfect Day.  Our projections are that by 2020, we will be taking just shy of two million guests a year to Perfect Day.

And then of course the other element is the sales associated with the experience of Perfect Day, and we've seen our sales of activities and experiences really take off on our pre-cruise sales for the experience, so we're up by a factor of close to nine, I think, for our Perfect Day sales."

Smart phone app investment return

Naturally investors want to hear that a company's investment in a piece of technology or a new initiative is driving home a return and Royal Caribbean is happy to report that despite its major tech initiative, code named Project Excalibur, has not fully launched yet, already the cruise line is reaping some benefits.

Mr. Liberty explained that essentially, the cruise line is seeing guest satisfaction rising quickly because the app and other tech advances remove friction from the guest experience.  That in turn provides higher yields for Royal Caribbean.  In the future that will make it easier for the consumer to buy things from the cruise line.

"There is a strong relationship to where guest satisfaction scores go up, and people pay more both for their ticket as well as onboard. Certainly ships that we have put Excalibur on we are seeing those benefits."

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd names Adam Goldstein Vice Chairman

19 Mar 2018

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd announced today it has appointed Adam Goldstein, to serve as vice chairman.

Goldstein will assume his new post in May 2018. In his new role, Goldstein will continue to oversee RCL’s global government relations and destination development efforts, and will represent the company in industry associations.  Both areas have been a constant focus for Goldstein across a career filled with challenging assignments.

Goldstein ia a 30-year veteran of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, has served as RCL’s president and chief operating officer since 2014.  He also served as the President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International prior to Michael Bayley.

RCL’s chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, said, “Adam has played a pivotal role in our success since he joined the company in 1988. He has exerted a positive influence across the company and provides exemplary leadership in our industry and in the communities we serve. As Adam transitions to his new role, I look forward to working with him to continue to build on these successes.”

Goldstein said: “It remains an incredible privilege to work with the men and women of RCL, who help create the memories of a lifetime for our guests, and who know the importance of doing good while we do well. I look forward to focusing my efforts in a few key areas where I can help advance the cause of both RCL and the cruise industry.”

Royal Caribbean names Sean Treacy new Associate Vice President Strategic Planning for International

27 Feb 2018

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has announced that Sean Treacy, Managing Director, Asia Pacific who is based in Singapore, will relocate back to Miami in August 2018 to take up the new role of Associate Vice President Strategic Planning for International.

Treacy has played a key role in both Australia and Singapore during his four years in the Asia Pacific region.

Angie Stephen, currently Associate Vice President, Market Development, China, will relocate to Singapore to take on Treacy’s role.

Stephen who comes with almost 20 years of experience in the company, has fulfilled a key market development role in China for the past year. She will take on the management of the Singapore source market for the brands Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises.

Royal Caribbean giving all of its employees a 5 percent salary bonus

24 Jan 2018

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, the parent company of Royal Caribbean International, announced the company's record-setting year will mean a surprise bonus for all of the cruise line's 66,000 employees.

Thanks to the company hitting its goal of doubling earnings per share and recording a double-digit return on invested capital, employees were informed they will be thanked for their contribution with individual salary bonuses of five percent.

"Exceptional results require exceptional effort," said Richard D. Fain, RCL's chairman and CEO. "Reaching the Double-Double required remarkable focus and discipline from our employees, and they delivered."

Employees will receive equity awards equal to five percent of their 2017 salaries in an $80 million program called the "Thank You, Thank You Bonus."  The awards, which vest over three years, will go to all employees – shipboard and shoreside, full-time and part-time, domestic and overseas. Corporate officers, however, are excluded. In addition to the five percent equity awards, the company will contribute to the Crew Welfare Fund for upgrades to crew living and recreational areas.

Fain said the Thank You, Thank You Bonus had the added benefit of enabling employees to see the company as shareholders do. "Ours is a people business, Fain said." We want to thank every one of our people for the hard work that got us to today's announcement, and give them a stake in our success going forward."

Royal Caribbean named a best place to work for LGBTQ Equality by HRC 2018 Corporate Equality Index

04 Dec 2017

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd was named a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” after scoring a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index.

This is the second year in a row that Royal Caribbean earned this honor, after making the list last year as well.

Last year the HRC, one of the oldest gay and lesbian political action committees in the U.S., added a requirement for inclusion as a top-ranking company on the 15-year-old index – a global non-discrimination policy or code of conduct that specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In meeting all requirements, RCL is among 609 major American businesses earning top scores on the index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer workplace equality.

It’s thrilling, of course, says Adam M. Goldstein, RCL’s president and COO, explaining: “We actually have an opportunity as a company to be understood as one of the most welcoming employers anywhere, in any industry. And I think we should be.

“You have guests coming from absolutely everywhere, you’ve got crew coming from absolutely everywhere, you’ve got ships going absolutely everywhere, and really the only way to make an environment like that work well is that you have to be welcoming to everyone.”

“If we’re going to do that on the ships, then clearly we also need to do that in our land-based facilities because it all has to be consistent, it has to tie together,” he says. “Here at our headquarters campus, obviously this is the location from which we direct our overall global effort, and if we want to have that type of situation out at sea then we need to be sure we have that type of situation here at headquarters.”

“It’s just fantastic how we’ve been recognized, Goldstein continues. “And we see that not only in terms of big public awards like this one, but in the number of serious companies – well-established, well-known companies – who are now coming to us and asking how are we doing these things, what are our methods, to see what techniques they can adopt from the techniques and behaviors that we’re demonstrating.”

With focused efforts, he says, RCL went from being a company with the right instincts and motivations “to a place where we are in the absolute forefront of how to construct and sustain workplace environments that are open and tolerant to the full array of diversity.”

Royal Caribbean named one of America's Best Employers by Forbes

09 May 2017

Forbes announced today that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has been named to the Forbes List of Best Large Employers for 2017.

Forbes surveyed 30,000 American employees working for large or midsize companies. Respondents were asked to rate their employer on the quality of the work environment and whether they would recommend their company to potential employees as one of the most important factors in the assessment.

"I am extremely pleased that Forbes has recognized Royal Caribbean as one of America’s Best Employers of 2017," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This recognition would not be possible without our employees. It is because of their passion, determination and commitment that we are constantly able to push the boundaries of what is possible."

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