Royal Caribbean expects all cruise guests to be vaccinated.
Weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cruise ships could resume sailing this summer after more than a year of being suspended, one of the world’s most prominent cruise companies said vaccinations will be a must for passengers.
Passengers 16 and older departing from the U.S. or the Bahamas on or before Aug. 1 on Royal Caribbean will be mandated to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing, according to the Royal Caribbean blog, a website with cruise information not affiliated with the cruise line. And for both U.S. or Bahamas sailings departing after Aug. 1, the age mandate for vaccinated travelers is changing from 16 to 12-years-old, according to the blog. The liner will also require proof of vaccination in addition to passports.
"We expect all of our guests who are eligible for a vaccine to have it," Richard Fain, chief executive of Royal Caribbean, told the BBC.
The CDC in April released new guidance on how cruise companies could safely resume sailings. The health agency said voyages could start up again by mid-summer if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are vaccinated.
"The combination of the vaccines and resting and contact tracing, all these protocols really helps us reach our objective, which is to make cruising safer than in your home community, Fain told BBC.
Royal Caribbean submitted its plan for test cruises – simulated voyages to help cruise companies test out COVID-19 health and safety protocols so they can resume sailing -- to the CDC and could be approved this week, according to its blog. The company did not specify which port or ship was associated with the application.
The cruise liner has landed port agreements with Port Canaveral and Port Everglades according to its blog. It will continue to require all of its crew members to be fully vaccinated.