Just hours after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced its extension of its Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), Royal Caribbean (RCI) released its health protocols for cruises departing from US ports next month.
Guests booked on November cruises received an email with the health rules they can expect, RCI said.
Protocols have been revised for ships sailing from the US, as well a separate policy for ships sailing from Puerto Rico.
RCI produced a list of protocols for ships sailing from the US, excluding Puerto Rico, including government mandates and CDC pre-cruise testing requirements, repeated below.
All guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.
Required pre-cruise testing: Guests will need to meet the new requirements recently issued by the CDC.
Vaccinated guests 12 years and older are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result (antigen or PCR) for a test taken no more than two days prior to the ship’s departure date and before their arrival to the terminal.
Unvaccinated children aged two to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than three days before boarding. A child’s pre-cruise test cannot be taken on boarding day, as this may affect the sample taken during the a child’s test at the terminal. No testing is required for guests under two.
Pre-cruise tests are at the guests’ expense, as well as scheduling.
RCI recommended guests use the at-home test they recently approved for use and now sell directly to passengers via RoyalCaribbean.com/HomeTestKit
Children aged two to 11: Additional Testing
In addition to the pre-cruise test, childen will take one or two more tests.
At the Terminal: Unvaccinated guests ages two to 11 years are required to take a PCR test for COVID-19 when checking in at the terminal. Registration details for this test will be sent via email in advance. This test is free.
Prior to disembarking: these unvaccinated guests will take a complimentary antigen test prior to leaving the ship. Depending on the length of the trip, there may be additional testing. Registration details will be provided on board.
Guests under two years of age will not be tested.
Masks are required in the terminal, in select locations inside the ship, and may be required at various destinations. Guests under two years old will not need to wear a mask.
Masks are NOT required to be worn:
- In open air areas of the ship, unless in a crowded space.
- In the pool or any activity where they may become wet.
- At venues designated for vaccinated guests only, such as select bars, lounges, restaurants and shows.
- In your stateroom when you are with your travelling party.
- While visiting our private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless you are in a crowded setting.
- By any guest under the age of two.
Masks ARE required to be worn:
- While indoors in public areas of the ship, unless seated and actively eating or drinking.
- While visiting public ports of call, where local regulations may require them.
Some venues and nightlife events will only be accessed by vaccinated guests age 12 and over, only. Masks won’t be required in these venues.
For main dining, RCI will designate areas for everyone, including parents and unvaccinated children, and areas for vaccinated parties only.
My Time Dining will not be available to parties that include unvaccinated guests. Some speciality restaurants will be open to everyone, while others will be for vaccinated parties only.
The ship’s venues are set up to easily allow for physical distancing and there will be signage to guide passengers.
Theatres and activity venues will offer spaced seating and more show times. Some activities, show times, or seating areas will be reserved for vaccinated guests only.
The Fitness Centre has operating hours for everyone, as well as hours reserved for vaccinated guests only. Spa services, except those offered in treatment rooms, are available to everyone.
Fully vaccinated parties may book a shore excursion or visit most ports freely — with the exception of those listed below, which will require tours for all guests who wish to go ashore, regardless of their vaccination status.
- St Lucia (November visits).
- Barbados (November visits).
- St Kitts (November visits).
- Antigua (November visits).
Families travelling with unvaccinated kids must purchase a local tour through RCI if they wish to go ashore. This applies to all ports of call except Perfect Day at CocoCay, and Port Canaveral, Florida.
Cruises from Puerto Rico
‘Explorer of the Seas’ is scheduled to restart cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico in November and there are different protocols for these sailings.
For guests above the age of two, Puerto Rico requires a negative PCR or antigen Covid-19 test result for certain travellers to enter, depending on their vaccination status and point of origin.
Flying in from the US
- Vaccinated guests have no testing requirement to enter Puerto Rico.
- Unvaccinated children age two to 11 must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arriving at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan.
Flying in from an international country
- All travellers age two and up, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours prior to arriving at San Juan’s airport.
If already in Puerto Rico no test is required.
To board the ship, you will need to bring a negative PCR or antigen test result to the cruise terminal. It can be the same result used to enter Puerto Rico, provided the time it right.
- Vaccinated guests age 12 and older must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than two days before boarding day.
- Unvaccinated kids age two to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than three days before boarding day. Children’s pre-cruise test cannot be taken on boarding day, because that may affect the sample taken during the kids’ test at the terminal.
- Guests under two years of age do not need to complete a pre-cruise test.
Children age two-11 Years: Additional Testing
In addition to the pre-cruise test, unvaccinated children will take two more tests. RCI test provider will administer these, at no cost to guests.
At the Terminal
Children will take a complimentary PCR test when checking in at the terminal. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.
Prior to Disembarking
Children will take a complimentary antigen test on board before the cruise ends. Vaccinated guests who require a COVID-19 test for re-entry into their country may receive one on board as well. Guests will be notified on board about how to register for this test.
Finally, guests under two years of age do not have test requirements to board the ship.