If I’ve learned anything in 2020 and 2021, it’s realizing how true the old cliche “the only constant is change” is, especially when it comes to the latest covid updates and how they impact Royal Caribbean and the rest of cruise industry. I’ve been so frustrated with the constant changes during the pandemic but the reality is the latest Covid updates are a result of the very latest information which is based on the latest data. The latest Covid updates from Royal Caribbean include updates to the mixed vaccination and pre-cruise testing policies.
Related: Carnival Mask Policy
As of September 28, 2021, in addition to local testing providers and at-home kits, there is now one more way to complete Royal Caribbean’s pre-cruise testing requirements: at the port on boarding day. Guests sailing from select U.S. homeports on or after October 1st, 2021 will be emailed in advance of their cruise to advise of these pre-cruise testing options. As a reminder, all pre-arrival testing costs are the guests’ responsibility.
Summary of Options
- At-Home Testing Kits
- Local testing provider like a local lab, pharmacy, doctor, or testing site
- NEW! Boarding Day testing at port
- After guests have exhausted the first two methods for testing, we have limited testing available on boarding day for vaccinated guests.
- Testing vendor and price varies by port
- For the immediate launch, only offered at select homeports: Miami, Port Canaveral, Ft. Lauderdale, & Bayonne (NJ)
Additional Details Pre-cruise Testing Options for Guests Departing from the U.S.
Notes: International guests can use these options only once they have arrived in the U.S.
Option 1: Test anywhere with At-Home Kits
- Pros: Order a kit and complete your video-supervised test right at home. Results in as little as 15 minutes.
- Cons: For vaccinated guests only. We recommend ordering a week before you need it. Only ships within U.S.
- Price: 2 tests for $69.99 USD; 3 tests for $99.99 USD.
- The Verdict: Great option. Fast results, flexible, works with your schedule. Order test kits at RoyalCaribbean.com/HomeTestKit.
Option 2: Go with your own local test provider
- Pros: Secure test at local pharmacy, lab, public test site, or doctor’s office. Available to guests 2 years & older.
- Cons: Can be hard to find. Results could be delayed.
- Price: Usually free.
- The Verdict: Cost effective and you’ll know your results before traveling to your cruise. Click here to learn about accepted tests.
NEW! Option 3: Boarding Day Test at port (Limited capacity | For vaccinated guests only)
- Pros: A last option if you simply can’t find a pre-cruise test or could not secure results in time.
- Cons: For vaccinated guests only. Limited availability by appointment only. Wait up to an hour for results outside of terminal. Positive result unknown until boarding day.
- Price: Starts at $99 USD per person.
- The Verdict: Search out other options first, and if no luck, schedule your appointment 30 minutes prior to sailing check-in time, 24 hours in advance.
- Note: Guests can only book this option within 30 days prior to departure.
9/16/21 – Latest Covid Updates – Royal Caribbean (Mixed Vaccine Policy)
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clarified their position, now recognizing a mixed combination of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (e.g., 1 dose of Pfizer with 1 dose of Moderna) as fully vaccinated. The doses must be administered a minimum of 28 days apart.
- Given this latest clarification, Royal Caribbean has amended their stance to align with the CDC, now recognizing a mixed combination of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer/Moderna) as being fully vaccinated to sail onboard U.S.-based ships.
- Regardless of vaccine brand/combination, it remains unchanged that all guests 12 years and older must complete the vaccine series with the last dose administered at least 14 days prior to the sailing in order to be recognized as fully vaccinated.
- Additionally, guests who received 1 shot of Johnson & Johnson, with any other vaccine, are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the Johnson & Johnson shot.
- Please note: Royal Caribbean does consider the single-dose Johnson & Johnson as fully vaccinated.
- Guests whose two-shot regimen consists of 1 mRNA dose (Pfizer or Moderna) with 1 AstraZeneca dose will not be considered vaccinated.
9/15/21 – Latest Covid Updates – Royal Caribbean
Effective immediately, the CDC has revised the pre-cruise testing guidance, specifically impacting unvaccinated guests ages 2-11 years old. Please see the summary of changes below, as well as reminders of testing specifics that remain unchanged.
To make it easier for guests:
- Unvaccinated Guests (kids ages 2-11 years) must present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken no more than 3 days prior to sailing in order to board. Previously, only a PCR test was accepted for this audience. The cost of this test remains the responsibility of the guest.
- Vaccinated guests must present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 2 days prior to the sailing in order to board. The cost of this test remains the responsibility of the guest.
- Unvaccinated guests (kids ages 2-11 years) are required to take a PCR test for COVID-19 when checking-in at the terminal. This test is complimentary and is in addition to the pre-arrival test requirement.
- Unvaccinated guests (kids ages 2-11 years) are required to take an antigen test onboard within 24-hours before the cruise ends, for sailings 5-nights or longer.
- No testing required for guests under age 2.
- IMPORTANT: As of 9/15/21, supervised telehealth home tests are NOT accepted for any unvaccinated guest, per CDC guidance.