Royal Caribbean Updates COVID-19 Testing Policy for All Guests, Regardless of Vaccination Status

The cruise line will make pre-departure testing mandatory for all guests 2 and older.

Royal Caribbean will now require all guests to get tested for COVID-19 for certain cruises, regardless of their vaccination status.

Going forward, the cruise line will make pre-departure testing mandatory for all guests 2 and older, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, the company's website reads. Passengers will have to take either a PCR or antigen test at an accredited test provider at least three days before their scheduled departure for all cruises five nights or longer.

Test results can either be printed or shown digitally.

For cruises out of Barcelona, Rome, and Cyprus, vaccinated passengers will have to take a rapid antigen test during check-in at the terminal, while unvaccinated passengers will have to undergo additional testing.

The decision to require fully vaccinated guests to be tested before boarding comes after six passengers tested positive for COVID-19 — four of them vaccinated and two unvaccinated minors — on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas ship out of the Bahamas. It also comes as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread, forcing several destinations to re-implement indoor mask mandates, including Disney and Las Vegas.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Serenade of the Seas
Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

"All other testing requirements and policies are still in place. This is an additional layer of precaution to ensure the safety of everyone onboard," Royal Caribbean told USA Today in a statement. "We will continue to monitor public health circumstances as they evolve and make necessary adjustments to our protocols."

Royal Caribbean requires all guests 12 and older to show proof of vaccination before boarding nearly all cruises except those leaving out of Florida. Unvaccinated minors must also take a rapid PCR test at the terminal before boarding and get tested again before disembarking.

For cruises leaving from Florida, any passenger 12 and older who chooses not to show proof of vaccination is required to get tested again at the terminal before boarding a cruise, get tested while on the cruise for sailings six nights or longer, and then get tested before disembarking. These passengers are also required to obtain insurance that would cover them if they tested positive for COVID-19 while on board.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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