The covid pandemic is not over, but the United States has improved its management. People are still infected, but the easy availability of vaccines as well as new treatments has kept serious illnesses from overwhelming American hospitals.
Most of the country is simply past the covid pandemic. You might see people choosing to wear masks in some places in public, but the country had been fully open for business again for months.
The cruise industry is lagging behind the rest of the travel industry. This is because Royal Caribbean International (RLC) – Get the Royal Caribbean Group ReportCarnival Cruise Lines (CCA) – Get the Carnival Corporation reportNorwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) – Get the report from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.and the rest of cruise lines that depart from US ports are regulated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
That changed just a few weeks ago when the CDC decided to shut down its covid tracking program on cruise ships. The government agency provided advice to the cruise industry, but even stopped its voluntary monitoring program.
This has led Virgin Voyage, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, among others, to either drop pre-cruise covid testing altogether (Virgin) or only require it for voyages of six nights and longer (Royal Caribbean and Carnival). Virgin has also relaxed its vaccine requirements. Previously, all guests on adult-only ships had to be vaccinated. Now up to 10% of passengers can sail without being vaccinated.
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Now, just days after Virgin Voyages’ policy change, Royal Caribbean has changed its vaccination rules.
Royal Caribbean changes its vaccine requirements
For much of the pandemic era, since cruises returned from US ports in July 2021, all passengers aged 12 and over had to show proof of being fully vaccinated at least two weeks before departure. . Now the cruise line has made a pretty big change and Chairman Michael Bayley has shared the news on social media, which was first reported by the Royal Caribbean Blog (which is not affiliated with the cruise line).
“Unvaccinated passengers will be required to take a test within 3 days of departure. We will also continue to operate highly vaccinated cruises with a vaccinated population above society and which continues to exempt children 12 and under and we will welcome unvaccinated passengers over the age of 12 and guests with a certificate of recovery within 90 days to travel bearing in mind that our ships will generally sail with 80% and more vaccinated guests on board,” he said. -he shares.
This is a lower threshold than Virgin will be 90% vaccinated with, but Royal Caribbean has always had around 90% vaccinated on its ships because it allows children under 12 to be unvaccinated. Bayley did not explain how the cruise line would allocate slots to unvaccinated passengers.
The cruise line has dropped all pre-cruise testing for sailings under 6 nights. In any case, protocols may vary on a particular sailing if the destination has different rules than the cruise line. Destinations may also choose not to allow unvaccinated passengers to leave the ship or require all visitors to wear masks in certain situations.