Royal Caribbean has eased some of its mask wearing requirements on board its ships. The cruise industry giants – the second largest in the world by number of passengers and home to the world’s largest cruise ship – made the changes to their mask policies discretely during the week, with updates concerning which travelers will need to wear face masks, where they’ll be needed and in which situations whilst on board the ship.
Royal Caribbean isn’t the only cruise line that’s made changes to its mask policies this week. Cruise industry rivals Norwegian Cruise Line also made changes to their policies in a move that is bound to make the idea of a cruise more appealing to new and existing cruise passengers. Here’s a look at the mask requirements that are set to change at Royal Caribbean, plus a recap of what exactly Norwegian changed during the week.
Mask Requirements Eased – What Travelers Should Know
Just like it has with air and rail travel, the pandemic has totally transformed what we’ve come to expect of cruises. Hamstrung by the CDC and resigned to spend large parts of the pandemic grounded, cruises were finally given the go-ahead to sail once more last July – though with strict restrictions regarding vaccination and other requirements such as mask wearing in place. Thankfully however, such restrictions are slowly beginning to fade.
Hot on the heels of Norwegian’s mask-easing announcements that were made during the week, Royal Caribbean too eased their mask wearing policies this week by publishing a list of situations in which masks will not need to be worn by travelers – a move that is set to be universally welcomed by cruise goers.
According to the latest updates on Royal Caribbean’s website, face masks are not required to be worn by travelers in the following areas:
- In open-air areas of the ship, unless they are in a crowded setting
- In the pool or any activity where they may become wet
- At venues designated for vaccinated guests only, such as select bars, lounges, restaurants, shows and Casino Royale.
- In a traveler’s stateroom when they are with their traveling party
- While visiting Royal Caribbean’s private destinations, unless they are in a crowded setting
- By any guest under the age of 2
Royal Caribbean’s website also stressed two situations where masks must be worn at all times. These are:
- While indoors onboard the ship, unless seated and actively eating or drinking
- While visiting public ports of call, where local regulations may require them
It also adds that the company is yet to determine its health and safety protocols for 2022 sailings departing from Europe, meaning masks could still be required on those cruises.
That’s certainly the case for cruises by Norwegian. Whilst the cruise line removed the obligation for all passengers to wear their face masks on board during the week, they also added that the decision won’t apply to cruises sailing through Europe. This is due to the fact that it would contravene local restrictions on the continent regarding the wearing of face masks.
Whilst face masks certainly play their role in keeping travelers safe, rules that made them mandatory on cruise ships have long been challenged by passengers, particularly given the extensive vaccination and testing requirements travelers need to go through just to board. Now that such restrictions are beginning to ease across the industry, we could be set for a bumper summer of cruise travel.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Saturday 12th of February 2022
Crazy anyone would go on a cruise under those conditions.