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Vaccination Not Required If Cruising From FL: Royal Caribbean

Patch logo Patch 6/19/2021 Tiffany Razzano
Vaccinations aren't required to take a Royal Caribbean cruise from Florida. But the experiences for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests will be very different. © Scott Anderson/Patch Vaccinations aren't required to take a Royal Caribbean cruise from Florida. But the experiences for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests will be very different.

MIAMI, FLORIDA — Miami-based Royal Caribbean clarified its COVID-19 policies Tuesday, announcing that all guests 16 and older must be vaccinated if they’re departing from United States ports in July — unless they’re leaving from Florida.

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning businesses from requiring vaccine passports or other documentation that an individual has received the COVID-19 vaccine in early May.

As Royal Caribbean resumes cruising in July, it’s unable to require proof of vaccination from guests leaving from Florida. But its policy lays out how vaccinated and unvaccinated guests will be treated differently.

“Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols at their own expense. These expenses are still being finalized. Based on our guest surveys, we expect 90 (percent) of all our guests to be fully vaccinated,” according to the cruise line’s vaccine policy.

Children who aren’t eligible for vaccines yet won’t be charged for testing or costs associated with any other COVID-19 protocols, Royal Caribbean added.


Video: Royal Caribbean Requiring COVID Vaccinations To Board (CBS Baltimore)

Royal Caribbean Requiring COVID Vaccinations To Board
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Acceptable proof of vaccination is the original vaccination record document issued by the country’s health authority or healthcare provider that administered the vaccine. In the U.S., this is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination record card.

This card, which must be presented when checking in, must show that the guest presenting it has completed all required doses of the vaccine and received the final dose at least 14 days before sailing, according to the cruise line’s website.

Those who don’t present their card will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing at the terminal before every embarkation and onboard before disembarking at any port, the Royal Caribbean Blog reported. Testing will be done through a third party contracted by the cruise line.

The cost of testing by this third party is $136, the blog said. It will be applied to the guest’s onboard expense account and Royal Caribbean will pay the testing company on behalf of the guest.

Before a cruise, unvaccinated guests older than 16 must take an RT-PCR test within three days of the voyage and present proof of a negative result before boarding, the blog said. Those 2 and older who are unvaccinated must also take an RT-PCR test when checking in at the terminal. Then, 24 hours before the cruise is over, unvaccinated guests will take an antigen test.

Face masks are also required for all guests in most indoor venues on the ship other than when they’re seated and eating or drinking. They’re also not required when guests are in their rooms or outdoors or at Perfect Day at CocoCay when in a crowd.

Certain bars, restaurants and other venues and some events will be designated for only those who are vaccinated. In these areas, face masks are required, reports said.

The clarification of COVID-19-related policies comes as eight crew members on the Royal Caribbean’s new Odyssey of the Seas tested positive for the virus. The ship’s inaugural trip, which was set to sail from Fort Lauderdale July 3, has been pushed back to July 31.

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