Royal Caribbean Updates On Florida Departures…

Dear valued Travel Partners,

It’s official, we’re back in the U.S. and delivering the long overdue cruise vacations that your clients of all ages have missed! A nearly 16-month journey led to the moment last weekend when Freedom of the Seas® became the first Royal Caribbean ship in the U.S. to welcome guests back. Before we say “Welcome aboard” to guests booked this August, we want to share some important details with you. Like all cruise companies sailing from U.S. ports, we are guided by the CDC and local regulations. While we are ready to deliver an amazing vacation to all of our guests, we do want to share the health and safety protocols so you can better assist your clients, especially if they are an unvaccinated guest over the age of 12 years.

The below email highlights protocols for both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. If booked guests do not wish to follow these protocols, we are happy to provide them with a refund or move their sailing into the future when circumstances may have evolved.

Currently, the enclosed information only pertains to sailings departing Florida homeports in August 2021. Health and safety protocols are subject to change and, as these occur, we’re committed to updating you.

Pre-Cruise Requirements

Vaccination Requirement 
We strongly recommend all guests 12 years and older be fully vaccinated which means:

  • The final dose was given at least 14 days before sailing.
  • Proof of vaccination, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination record card, will be presented.

Fully vaccinated guests have no further testing or insurance requirements to sail with us.

Unvaccinated Guests 12 and Older
Guests who are 12 years and older and do not have or are unable to provide vaccination documentation will be considered unvaccinated and will have additional testing at their own expense and must follow health and safety protocols described below, including:

  • Negative results from a pre-arrival PCR test for COVID-19
  • A PCR test at the terminal
  • Onboard antigen testing
    • Mid-cruise antigen test (on 6+ night sailings)
    • Disembarkation antigen test
  • Travel insurance requirements
  • Shore excursions required to visit ports
  • Additional health protocols onboard

See below for more information on these tests and protocols. If guests do not wish to undergo or pay for additional testing and insurance, or adhere to these health and safety protocols, we are happy to provide them with a refund for their cruise. We believe that in the coming months, restrictions and requirements will be more accommodating as public health circumstances evolve.

Unvaccinated guests ages 2 to 11 years:
Children not yet eligible for the vaccine will undergo additional testing at no additional charge, as well as additional health and safety protocols, including:

  • A PCR test for COVID-19 at the terminal
  • Onboard antigen testing
    • Disembarkation antigen test
  • Shore excursions required to visit port
  • Additional health protocols onboard

Testing Requirements and Cost for Unvaccinated Guests
As a requirement to sail with us, all unvaccinated guests must undergo multiple COVID-19 tests as described below. Testing at the terminal prior to embarkation and onboard prior to disembarkation will be conducted by licensed and accredited third-party testing providers we have contracted. Our unvaccinated guests must register for this testing and agree to the third-party testing provider terms and conditions. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.

The total charge for unvaccinated guests 12 years and older from the third-party testing vendor for these tests is $136 USD per guest for sailings 5 nights or less and $178 USD per guest for sailings 6 nights or longer. 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 children 2 to 11 not yet eligible to be vaccinated, we will cover the cost of any required testing.

  • Pre-Cruise Testing: Unvaccinated guests 12 years and older will need to undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 administered by an accredited laboratory of the guest’s choice and taken within three days of sailing. We 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 and older are required to take a PCR test for COVID-19 when checking in at the terminal, which will be administered by one of our testing vendors. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.
  • Mid-Cruise [For sailings 6 nights or longer]: Unvaccinated guests 12 years and older will take an antigen test onboard mid-way through their cruise. Registration details will be provided onboard.
  • Prior to Disembarking: While onboard, unvaccinated guests 2 years and older will be required to undergo antigen testing the day before the cruise ends. This test will be conducted by one of our testing vendors. Registration details will be provided onboard.

Insurance Requirement 
As a condition of boarding, each unvaccinated guest 12 years and older departing from a Florida homeport on a Royal Caribbean International cruise 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 coverage for emergency medical evacuation and no COVID-19 exclusions.

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 this coverage. Insurance is required for sailings from August 1 through December 31, 2021 (except for bookings made between March 19, 2021 and June 28, 2021).

During the Cruise 
If guests have cruised with us before, they will notice some changes. Royal Caribbean, like all cruise companies sailing from U.S. ports, is guided by CDC regulations which currently govern many aspects of our operations. On the sailing, most guests (and all our crew) will be vaccinated and those that aren’t are primarily children. While we are ready to give all our guests an amazing vacation, we do want to share some details about the experience, so your clients know what to expect. Please note, the SeaPass card will be required to access lounges, shows and dining venues, so keep it handy.

  • Masks and Physical Distancing: When indoors, CDC guidelines require all guests 2 years and older to wear masks unless they are actively eating or drinking. The CDC does make allowances for guests to remove their masks in venues and events dedicated to fully vaccinated parties. Since so many of our guests are vaccinated, they’ll find plenty of these opportunities. Masks are not required in their stateroom when they are with their traveling party, outside on the open decks, or at Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless in a crowded setting. Updates will be shared as changes to the CDC mask guidelines occur. Guests will find the entire ship and boarding process set up to allow for physical distancing.
  • Dining: For Main Dining, we 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 specialty restaurants will be open to everyone, while others will be for vaccinated parties only. If your clients prefer a buffet, Windjammer will be open to everyone for breakfast and lunch, and the food will be served by our crew. We recommend that they make dining reservations via Cruise Planner before the cruise or the Royal Caribbean app once onboard. Grab-and-go cafes will also be available for everyone. ​
  • Bars and Lounges: Many bars and lounges will be open to everyone and others will be available to vaccinated guests only. There will be crew stationed nearby and signage to help direct guests.
  • Casino: Given the casino’s physical constraints, there is not enough space to accommodate everyone. Given most of our adult guests are vaccinated, the casino will be open to vaccinated guests only.
  • Fitness and Spa: The Fitness Center will have dedicated operating hours for everyone as well as hours reserved for vaccinated guests only. Salon services will be available to everyone but given the enclosed space and longer length of spa services, the treatment rooms used to provide facials, massages and other services will only be available to vaccinated guests.
  • Entertainment: Entertainment venues will offer spaced seating and more showtimes throughout the cruise. Select showtimes will be for everyone and other showtimes for vaccinated guests only. Reservations can be made once onboard using the Royal Caribbean app.
  • Diamond Lounge for Loyalty Members: The Diamond Lounge will be open and operating at 50 percent capacity to allow for physical distancing.
  • Adventure Ocean and Teen Lounges: Youth spaces will be open to all children and teens.

Going Ashore 

  • At ports of call, fully vaccinated parties have the choice of booking a shore excursion or visiting freely.
  • Parties that wish to go ashore and include any unvaccinated guests, including parents traveling with unvaccinated children, must book a shore excursion through Royal Caribbean that is provided by an independent local tour operator that has agreed to comply with recommended health protocols.
  • Vaccinated parents wishing to go ashore freely can visit our youth facilities once onboard to learn about drop off program hours and availability, and reserve time for their child on the day they wish to go in port.
  • Shore excursions may be purchased in advance on the Cruise Planner website.
  • Once onboard, they can be purchased at the shore excursions desk or by using the Royal Caribbean app.
  • All guests are also subject to restrictions and requirements as defined by local authorities in the ports we visit.
  • No tours are required for any guests to go ashore at our private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
What To Bring

Travel Documentation Checklist
Guests sailing from Barcelona, Spain will need to have the following documents when arriving to board the ship.

  • All guests: A Passport Book or Passport Card,  valid for at least six months after your cruise, is strongly recommended. If you do not have a Passport, you may present a state-certified U.S. Birth Certificate (not a “baby feet” hospital certificate or baptismal paper). Guests 16 and older that present a Birth Certificate will also need to provide a valid Driver’s License or picture ID issued by the government.
  • Vaccinated guests: COVID-19 vaccination record card with the final dose given at least 14 days before sailing.
  • Unvaccinated guests 12 and older: A negative COVID-19 PCR test result and proof of travel insurance
  • Proof of travel Insurance: Unvaccinated guests age 12 and older must present proof of travel insurance that meets coverage requirements.
  • Health Questionnaire to be completed on our Royal Caribbean App the day before you board.

For additional protocol information, please click the link below to read the detailed FAQs.

Please note that health protocols are expected to change over time. Guidance for other ports and sailings is still in development with federal, state, and local authorities. We will update you and your clients as protocols change.

Please Contact Destinations with Character Travel Services, LLC.  For Details & Bookings.

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