The cruise industry is truly a global industry.
Cruise ships such as those operated by Royal Caribbean sail all around the world, and therefore have to deal with different health and safety protocols around the world.
That’s certainly been the case since cruise ships were cautiously allowed to reopen last year, as every country has different Covid-19 protocols, and Europe’s protocols have largely been stricter than those in the United States.
Because cruise lines have to deal with different rules around the world, they tend to err on the side of the most caution possible, both for their guest’s safety and to not run afoul of authorities in different countries.
What Cruises Will Require Booster Shots?
Royal Caribbean has announced a new set of safety protocols for all ships sailing out of Southampton, England, through May 31, as noted by Royal Caribbean Blog, which is not owned by the Royal Caribbean line but which tracks the company’s every move.
The Mediterranean, the Norwegian Fjords, Scandinavia, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, and the Canary Islands are among the locations cruises can visit from Southampton.
As part of the new protocols, all guests shipping out of Southampton 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated, and they have to have received their final dose no less than 14 days prior to sailing.
Also, in order to qualify as up-to-date, guests will need a booster shot if their second vaccine was administered over 270 days ago.
They will also be required to present a negative test result for a Covid-19 test that was taken no more than two days before sailing, as has become standard on cruise lines of late.
Guests who are two years old or older who are not up-to-date with their vaccines, or who are unvaccinated, will be required to present a negative test result for a Covid-19 test that was taken no more than one day before sailing.
The test must be conducted at a certified testing location or supervised by a healthcare telemedicine professional.
Guests who are 12 years or older who are considered unvaccinated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), or who are not up-to-date with their vaccines will require additional testing during UK sailings, depending on the itinerary.
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The test will be administered at the guests expense and will cost $55 per test.
Royal Caribbean will not accept a certificate of recovery in lieu of a vaccination record, and children between the ages of 5 to 11 are not required to be vaccinated.
Masks are optional onboard, but will be required at the Adventure Ocean, in the cruise terminal, and may be required at various inland destinations.
What’s Going On With Royal Caribbean In America?
As we’ve noted, it’s been a slow return to normal-ish for the cruise industry.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have greater control over the cruise industry than any other form of travel, as cruise lines nearly always flag their ships outside of the U.S. in order to workvaround American labor laws.
Last year the CDC strongly warned people against taking cruises, labeling them a level 4 “high risk” activity.
But last month the CDC eliminated its pandemic-related Cruise Travel Health Notices for cruise passengers and has also eliminated all risk warnings.
Masks are now optional onboard Royal Caribbean ships.
But in order to sail, you have to provide proof of vaccination, as well as a negative test no more than two days before sailing.
It remains an open question whether Royal Caribbean and the other major cruise lines will ever end their vaccine mandate. It might possibly happen by the fall, but only time will tell.
The cruise industry likely wants to be done with the requirement, but considering that the issue has become a hotly charged political football, it’s not going to want to publicly take a stance in either direction.
After all, it wants people of all political beliefs to enjoy the friendly seas.