Royal Caribbean Places Onboard Restrictions For Unvaccinated Cruisers

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas won’t be so free to roam for cruisers who have not received their Covid-19 vaccination.

The Freedom of the Seas will start sailings in July. While the cruise company will allow both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers to sail onboard, the ship, once the largest in the world, will be much smaller for those who do not have the wristband.

freedom-of-the-seas-labadee-HaitiDeparting on July 2 for PortMiami, the ship will be sailing with a fully vaccinated crew and a high percentage of vaccinated guests. Those who do not wish to show proof of vaccination, however, will be banned from several areas of the ship. Only those who have shown their vaccination card- voluntarily, will receive a wristband that allows full access to all areas of the vessel.

The ‘voluntary’ stipulation is Royal Caribbean’s way to circumnavigate Florida’s law, as professed by Governor Ron De Santis, that no business may demand proof of vaccine from its guests, shoppers, diners, etc. De Santis has threatened to sue lines $5000 per guest if they demand the vaccine proof.

As it is a voluntary system, vaccinated guests do not need to show their vaccine cards, but would be limited to the same areas of the ship as those who cannot produce one as they have not received their final inoculation at least 2 weeks before sailing.

freedom_of_the_seas-Casino ROyaleThe updated protocols recently announced by Royal Caribbean include a list of off-limit spaces including restaurants, entertainment venues, and public spaces such as the Vitality Spa, Casino Royale, RED Party, and Izumi Hibachi and Sushi. Even more, spaces have stipulations such as Royal Theatre Show- unvaxxed guests can only watch the show from seating on deck four of the dual-level theatre, and the Studio B Ice Skating show will have only a few performances that those without the wristband will be able to attend.

Unvaccinated guests will also only be allowed off the ship in Nassau, Bahamas if booked on a shore excursion.

Royal Caribbean has stipulated that vaccinated guests will not require facemasks when indoors at ‘vaccinated only’ venues. It has also advised parties sailing within a group of vaccinated and unvaccinated guests (mainly those with unvaccinated children) will need to adhere to the ‘unvaccinated friendly areas’ only when all together in a group.

Along with wristbands to help crew differentiate between guests’ vaccine statuses, passengers’ SeaPass cards will be required to access lounges, shows, and dining venues. Passengers who do not produce a vaccine card will have a hole punched in their card.

RCCL seapass cardWhile the new rules apply only to the Freedom of the Seas sailings from Miami in July, Royal Caribbean has stated that each ship will have its own list of approved and banned establishments for unvaccinated passengers. The guidelines will change as restrictions are lifted.

As imagined, unvaccinated folks are NOT happy with the “segregation”. This was compounded by the new RCCL rule that unvaccinated guests over 12 years of age traveling from Florida will need to show proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 related medical expenses, quarantine, and evacuation. The insurance policy must have a minimum of US$25,000 per person for medical expenses and US$50,000 per person for travel expenses.

This rule came about after guests who tested positive on the Adventure of the Seas were evacuated at Royal Caribbean’s expense.

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Nicola Barton

Nicola's dream was to visit all 7 continents and did so by her 40th birthday. However she knows there are still hundreds of places to explore and is packing her suitcase as we speak!

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