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Unvaccinated adult cruisers can expect to pay for tests: Royal Caribbean

PHOTO: PORT EVERGLADES CRUISE_Odyssey_of_the_Seas_Photo_Port_Everglades.jpg
Odyssey of the Seas is scheduled to begin sailing from Port Everglades July 3
Royal Caribbean International has made it clear unvaccinated travelers sailing from Florida will need to undergo COVID-19 testing and additional health protocols at their own expense.

The line isn't mandating vaccination for its five ships set to sail from Florida in July and August.

Vaccination 'strongly recommended'

'It is strongly recommended that guests set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible,' a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said. 'Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols at their own expense. These expenses are still being finalized.'

No charge for children's testing

Children not eligible for vaccines won't be charged for the tests.

This policy applies to Freedom of the Seas from PortMiami (starting July 2), Odyssey of the Seas from Port Everglades (starting July 3), Allure of the Seas from Port Canaveral (Aug. 8), Symphony of the Seas from PortMiami (Aug. 14) and Mariner of the Seas from Port Canaveral (Aug. 23).

While Royal Caribbean said its goal is to provide specific health protocols 30 days before sailing, those aren't yet finalized for the Florida departures.

Royal Caribbean is the first line to make it plain unvaccinated people will have to foot the bill for tests. It wouldn't be surprising if others follow suit. 

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, fully vaccinated cruisers don't have to be tested. People who aren't fully vaccinated or with documentation of recovery in the past 90 days must be tested on the day of embarkation and the day of disembarkation.

The CDC will accept the faster, less expensive antigen tests though the agency prefers NAAT for use on cruise ships because it is less likely to miss cases compared to antigen testing. 

Tests needed for reentry

As for sailings that start outside the US, Royal Caribbean 'will in almost all cases provide tests, free of charge, to our guests to fulfill any reentry requirements,' the spokesperson further clarified. 'For example, on board Adventure sailings from the Bahamas we will administer a test on day five/six of the cruise so that guests can use these results for entry back into the United States.'

Vaccination for adults is mandated for the Bahamas cruises, and for sailings from Cyprus, which are open to Americans. 

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