Royal Caribbean to Require Unvaccinated Guests Sailing From Florida to Have COVID-19 Insurance
The cruise line is also making vaccines mandatory in only some ports.
Royal Caribbean will require unvaccinated guests on cruises out of Florida to obtain insurance that would cover them if they tested positive for the coronavirus while on board.
Starting August 1, unvaccinated guests 12 and older will have to show proof of an insurance policy with coverage of at least $25,000 per person for medical expenses and $50,000 per person for expenses for things like COVID-19-related quarantine and medical evacuation, according to the company.
The policy will apply to sailings through Dec. 31, but bookings made between March 19, 2021, and June 28, 2021, will be exempt.
The decision comes after a pair of unvaccinated teenagers tested positive for the virus on the company's Adventure of the Seas ship and two other people were infected on the Celebrity Millennium earlier this month, Reuters reported. The cruise company took care of expenses in those cases.
The cruise line, which previously made vaccines optional on most cruises, will now require the jab except on sailings departing from Florida.
Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned the concept of vaccine passports in the state.
For cruises leaving from Florida (Royal Caribbean plans to sail the Freedom of the Seas from Miami next month), the company said any guest 16 or older who chooses not to show proof of vaccination "will be considered unvaccinated and must adhere to additional health protocols and undergo COVID-19 testing." On Aug. 1, that drops to 12 and older. These tests will be at the guest's expense.
Beyond Florida, Royal Caribbean will require guests 16 and older to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before embarking on a cruise — dropping that to 12 and older after Aug. 1. This will apply to sailings out of Seattle, Wash., Nassau, Bahamas, and Galveston, Texas. For cruises departing from Cyprus, guests 18 years and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.
All crew members on Royal Caribbean's ships and at the company's private island, CocoCay, are required to be fully vaccinated.
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.