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Yesterday, I received an email from Royal Caribbean with an update on their cruising protocols through March 22. It’s a long email that I won’t paste here (you can see it on Royal Caribbean Blog), but here are the main points:
- Vaccines are still required for everyone ages 12+
- Masks are still required at most places indoors (not in cabins and not in “vaccinated only” venues)
- Children ages 5-11 who are fully vaccinated will have the same privileges as vaccinated adults 12+. This means that vaccinated children can leave the ship on non-Royal excursions and skip the PCR test at embarkation.
- Vaccinated guests must show a negative Covid test taken 1-2 days prior to embarkation.
- Unvaccinated guests must show a negative Covid test taken 1-3 days prior to embarkation as well as take a test at the port.
Some people are surprised that Royal Caribbean is not requiring kid ages 5-11 to be vaccinated. The Bahamas is the one that controls that protocol. If The Bahamas changes the rule, the cruise lines will have to comply.
If It ‘Aint Broke, Don’t Fix It
In social media groups, I see some chatter by folks who are disappointed that some of these protocols are not going away after January 15 (when the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order goes away and becomes voluntary). But as I posted about earlier this week, Covid numbers on cruise ships have been very low. Why change things when the protocols are clearly working?
Based on Covid cases around the world, we are not rid of Covid yet. Easing up on restrictions too soon could be disastrous for the cruising industry just when it’s starting to get back on its feet.
I’m glad that Royal Caribbean has clarified the cruising protocols for the next few months. People who were hoping the rules would change can either choose to get vaccinated or choose to cancel. No set of protocols will make everyone happy.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.