Guests looking forward to cruises from US ports have had a lot to celebrate the last couple weeks but, until today, may have more questions than answers about the requirements to set sail this Summer. If you’re considering booking a cruise on Royal Caribbean, many of the questions have been answered with the release of protocols for August 2021 sailings from Florida.
Related: Carnival protocols and requirements
Related: Everything you need to know about using Future Cruise Credit
Royal Caribbean has released new information pertaining to August sailings departing from Florida homeports. We will continue to update these protocols as public health situations evolve. Guidance for all other departure ports is still in development with federal, state and local authorities. Booked guests will be provided full details specific to their port of departure prior to sailing.Royal Caribbean
As a reminder, provided below are the Florida ships that will be sailing this August.
- Freedom of the Seas (July restart)
- Odyssey of the Seas (July restart)
- Allure of the Seas beginning August 8, 2021
- Symphony of the Seas beginning August 14, 2021
- Mariner of the Seas beginning August 23, 2021
Protocols for August 2021: Vaccinations
- Royal Caribbean strongly recommends all guests 12 years and older be fully vaccinated. To be considered fully vaccinated, the final dose of the vaccine must be completed at least 14 days before sailing.
- At check-in, guests will be asked to provide documentation of their vaccination, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.
- Those who are 12 years and older and do not have or are unable to provide documentation will be considered unvaccinated.
- Unvaccinated guests must undergo additional COVID-19 testing at their own expense, provide proof of a valid travel insurance policy (Royal Caribbean’s travel protection meets the requirements, if you’re purchasing other travel insurance, make sure it meets the requirements) with sufficient medical coverage for needs related to a positive COVID-19 test result, and follow the health protocols described below, which are based on guidance from the CDC.
- If a guest does not wish to undergo or pay for additional testing, or adhere to these health and safety protocols, Royal Caribbean will provide them with a refund.
- All crew onboard our ships will be fully vaccinated.
Protocols for August 2021: Insurance Requirement
- For cruises departing from Florida homeports from August 1 through December 31, 2021, as a condition of boarding, each unvaccinated guest 12 and older must provide proof of a valid insurance policy that has a minimum of (a) $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage and (b) $50,000 per person for quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive COVID-19 test result.
- The insurance policy must name the unvaccinated guest as the policy holder or beneficiary, and may be purchased from a travel insurance company of the guest’s choosing or through the Royal Caribbean Travel Protection Program, which includes the requisite coverage.
- This policy applies to sailings from August 1 through December 31, 2021, and all bookings — except bookings made between March 19, 2021 and June 28, 2021.
Protocols for August 2021: Testing Requirements
- Vaccinated guests do not have any testing requirements to cruise.
- As a requirement to sail with Royal Caribbean, all unvaccinated guests age two and older must undergo multiple COVID-19 tests. Testing at the terminal prior to embarkation and onboard before disembarking will be conducted by licensed and accredited third-party testing providers Royal Caribbean has contracted for this service. Unvaccinated guests must register for this test and agree to the third-party testing provider terms and conditions. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.
- For unvaccinated guests 12 years and older, the total charge from the third-party testing vendor for these tests is $136 USD per guest on sailings of 6 nights or less, and $178 USD per guest on sailings of 7 nights or more. This amount will be applied to the guest’s onboard expense account. Royal Caribbean will pay the testing vendor(s) on the guest’s behalf and will not retain any part of the testing costs. For guests age 2 to 11 years old, Royal Caribbean will cover the cost of any required testing.
- The testing required of unvaccinated guests is described below.
- Pre-Cruise – Unvaccinated guests 12 years of age and older will need to undergo a PCR test administered by an accredited laboratory of the guest’s choice and taken within three days of sailing. Royal Caribbean will require documentation of a negative result for this test prior to embarkation. All costs for this test are the unvaccinated guest’s responsibility.
- At the Terminal – Unvaccinated guests 2 years of age and older are required to undergo a PCR test when checking in at the terminal, which will be administered by one of Royal Caribbean’s testing vendors. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.
- Mid-Cruise (For Sailings 7 Nights or longer) – Unvaccinated guests 2 years of age and older will be required to undergo additional antigen testing onboard, mid-cruise. Guests will be notified onboard about how to register for this test.
- Prior to Disembarking – While onboard, unvaccinated guests 2 years of age and older will be required to undergo antigen testing within 24 hours of disembarking at the end of the voyage. This test will be conducted the day before the cruise ends by one of Royal Caribbean’s testing vendors. Guests will be notified onboard about how to register for this test.
- These tests will be complimentary for guests ages 2-11 years. Guests under 2 years of age will not be tested.
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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.