With the release of Freedom of the Seas protocols for July sailings guests on the 3- and 4- night cruises sailing from Miami have some decisions to make. With the uncertainty of whether or not guests will be required to prove their vaccination status, the only solid option — the one Royal Caribbean chose — is to sacrifice the experience for everyone on board.
Related: Shop the best deals on Royal Caribbean cruises at JJTravelAssociates.com
What will life be like with the current Freedom of the Seas protocols?
Masks and Physical Distancing
- When indoors on Freedom of the Seas, CDC guidelines require all guests 2 years and older to wear masks unless they are actively eating or drinking. The CDC does make allowances for guests to remove their masks in venues and events dedicated to fully vaccinated parties. Since so many of our guests are vaccinated, there will be plenty of these opportunities.
- Masks are not required in your stateroom when with your traveling party, outside on the open decks, or at Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless in a crowded setting. In the coming days, we are expecting updated guidance from the CDC on mask policies for vaccinated guests in shared spaces and will update you at that time.
- Guests will find the entire ship and boarding process set up to allow for physical distancing, which is encouraged whenever interacting with those outside of your traveling party.
Freedom of the Seas protocols: Dining / Bars and Lounges
- The Main Dining Room, which spans two decks, will have one deck for everyone, which includes parties with both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests, such as parents and unvaccinated children. The other deck will be for vaccinated parties. My Time Dining will not be available to parties that include unvaccinated guests.
- Specialty restaurants will be open to everyone, as will grab-and-go cafes. If you prefer a buffet, Windjammer will be open to everyone for breakfast and lunch, and the food will be served by our crew. We recommend that guests make dining reservations via Cruise Planner before their cruise or the Royal Caribbean app once onboard.
- Many bars and lounges will be open to everyone and others will be available to vaccinated guests only. There will be crew stationed nearby and signage to help direct guests.
Freedom of the Seas protocols: Casino / Fitness and Spa / Entertainment
- Given the casino’s physical constraints, there is not enough space to accommodate everyone. Given most of our adult guests are vaccinated, the casino will be open to vaccinated guests only.
- The Fitness Center will have dedicated operating hours for everyone as well as hours reserved for vaccinated guests only. Salon services will be available to everyone but given the enclosed space and longer length of spa services, the treatment rooms used to provide facials, massages and other services will only be available to vaccinated guests.
- Entertainment venues will offer spaced seating and more showtimes throughout the cruise. Select showtimes will be for everyone and other showtimes for vaccinated guests only. Be sure to make show reservations once onboard using the Royal Caribbean app.
Freedom of the Seas protocols: Diamond Lounge for Loyalty Members
- The Diamond Lounge will be open and operating at 50 percent capacity to allow for physical distancing.
Freedom of the Seas protocols: Adventure Ocean and Teen Lounges
- Youth spaces will be open to all children and teens.
If these policies are causing you to re-think your cruise plans, Cruise With Confidence gives you flexibility to cancel your cruise — as long as it was booked before July 31, 2021 — up to 48 hours before sailing and receive 100% future cruise credit to be redeemed by April 30, 2022 for a cruise sailing by September 30, 2022.
Ready to book your next vacation? Call Joel (844-483-6669), use the contact form, or visit JJTravelAssociates.com for free unbiased assistance and advice.
About the Author
Joel is a co-owner of JJ Travel Associates (a Dream Vacations franchise), blogger-in-chief at JoelKnowsTravel.com, lover of all things travel (especially UNESCO World Heritage Sites), wannabe comedian, and the person you should call if you're thinking of planning a vacation.