The cruise line Royal Caribbean is set to add a new negative PCR testing requirement for all travelers who plan on taking a Royal Caribbean cruise, following several incidents where passengers tested positive for Covid-19 whilst on a trip.
The latest twist in the dramatic cruise saga that has been ongoing since the dawn of the pandemic, it comes just as cruises were starting to pick up the pace once more after the best part of a year of dormant activity. Here’s everything you need to know about those cases that were reported, plus a closer look at the new rule change by Royal Caribbean.
Positive Cases On Board – Information For Travelers
After months of inactivity due to the conditional no sail order handed to the cruise industry on behalf of the CDC, there was optimism amongst cruise lines and cruise enthusiasts alike last month when permission was granted to resume their operations once more. Gradually, more and more ships took to the seas again, whilst extensive catalogues of future sailing endeavors were updated for passengers to book and look forward to once more.
However, despite the reams of Covid-19 related safety procedures that cruises must adhere to before they can sail once more and the high proportion of vaccinated individuals onboard, the risk of Covid-19 spreading during a cruise was still a very present and real threat, and that certainly came to pass in the last week, when Royal Caribbean reported several positive cases – marking the second time cases have been reported onboard since cruises restarted in the US.
Six guests tested positive onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise Adventure of the Seas that was sailing from Nassau, in the Bahamas. Four of the positive cases were adults who had already been vaccinated, whilst the other two cases were unvaccinated children. According to Royal Caribbean, only one of the cases is asymptomatic. They were quarantined on board before taking private transportation back home, whilst other passengers who had been in close contact with them were also tested for the virus and came back negative. The cruise ship is now expected to carry on as normal.
New Testing Requirements – What Travelers Should Know
As a result of the events on board the Adventure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has been forced to update its policies in order to try and prevent similar scenes from happening once again. On Friday, the company made it mandatory for prospective travelers to have a negative Covid-19 test in order to be able to board the ship, adding another layer of protection.
The new rule is set to apply to all guests taking part in cruises that are five nights or longer, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not, and is set to affect all cruise-goers above the age of 2. Tests may be either PCR or antigen, and taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure.
Whilst passengers have to be vaccinated in order to board a Royal Caribbean ship, Florida’s laws that make asking for proof of vaccination illegal have complicated this matter. Travelers who do not show their proof of vaccination on board are instead subjected to different rules to those who do. This includes having to wear a mask indoors, not being able to enter certain parts of the ship and having to pay for travel insurance separately.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories