The governor of Florida has been playing “chicken” with the CDC and cruise companies for several weeks. Whether he’s doing it as a form of political grandstanding or because he’s genuinely concerned about protecting individuals’ rights to medical privacy is still debatable (spoiler: even if cruisers don’t have to show that they’ve gotten a vaccine, they still have to show that they’re COVID negative. So much for medical privacy). However a few cruise lines have already made it clear that, in the name of public safety, those who are unvaccinated will have significantly more hassles when cruising than those who are.
A while back, Royal Caribbean had said that they would require all passengers to be fully vaccinated to sail on their ships. However they reversed that as part of a statement released on June 4th.
Royal Caribbean wrote in its statement that guests ages 16 and over “are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated,” but proof of immunization won’t be required for those boarding their cruises in Florida (or Texas). “Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date,” the cruise line continued.
Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain posted a video to explain:
The response to this video gave a good idea of how cruisers felt about the cruise line no longer requiring proof of vaccination:
- Richard can not take a collective breath. You caved the to governor. You blinked.
- I like to listen to you but I don’t like when you tell us how we should make medical choices.
- If you’re not requiring vaccinations then I’ll be canceling the cruises I have booked for this year. I don’t want to get put in quarantine on my vacation or stuck on the ship because it can’t dock if there’s an outbreak. I’m not willing to take that chance with my long awaited vacation.
- I will be canceling if they require us to be injected with experimental garbage. Apparently “my body my choice” only applies elsewhere??
- The vast majority of my clients are telling me that they will cancel if vaccines are not still required. I really hate it, but I’m feeling the same way. Sorry Royal, We love you but foregoing that vaccine is a major health risk, and gives the variants an opportunity to develop and overpower our vaccines.
- As much as I love cruising, until the vaccine mandate is over I won’t be cruising. To penalize those of us who have researched and choose not to get the vaccine by charging higher fees is unfair.
- All it takes is one outbreak. One. Outbreak and then it is over for the cruise industry. This is not about being an alarmist-this is about being realistic.
- I will not cruise if vaccinated is the only way. Sorry that is how I feel
- I’m only cruising on completely vaccinated ships until the pandemic is over. If my cruise next month opens up to unvaccinated guests, I will immediately cancel.
- Mr. Fain: you should inform yourself what the “shots” do to your body. Are you aware of the spike protein and impact to critical body organs such as the heart and brain? Have you consulted Dr. Sherri Tenpenny and Dr. Judy Mikovits after their lengthy peer research? How about the recent declarations by Dr. Byram Bridle? You might soon find yourself in a precarious situation with all your inoculated crew “out of order”. You need to read the medical journals on both sides and understand what is truly happening to the human body as these shots are given. God help you see the light and guide you in the right direction.
- Not thrilled you won’t require vaccines. And the threat of having a cruise end early if the covidiots cause a pandemic aboard our prospective cruise in February on Allure makes me nervous as hell.
Royal Caribbean owns Celebrity Cruises. As per Royal Caribbean Blog, Celebrity Cruises announced on a June 8th webinar that they won’t require passengers to show proof of having received a full run of their COVID vaccination that was completed at least 2 weeks prior to sail date. However, they will still ask for said proof for the many people who will be happy to show that they are vaccinated. If someone opts out of showing proof that they’ve been vaccinated, they’ll be held to a different set of protocols onboard, as well as additional costs to incur to confirm they are healthy.
For example, guests who don’t show proof of vaccination will be considered unvaccinated and will require a SARS-COV-2 test at the terminal at their own expense.
Once onboard, vaccinated guests will not have to wear masks. However, unvaccinated adult guests will be required to wear a mask at all times, except while eating or drinking or in their stateroom.
Guests won’t be restricted to cruise line excursions. However unvaccinated guests may face restrictions based on local laws, up to and including not being allowed to disembark from the ship.
Unvaccinated guests returning home from cruises that are longer than 4 nights from the U.S. will be required to take a SARS-CoV-2 test prior to disembarkation, which will be at their own expense (Celebrity will administer the test at no cost for young children or other passengers who are unable to be vaccinated).
Celebrity claims they will still ensure a 95% vaccinated minimum of guests onboard when departing from Florida.
Meanwhile, at least three cruise lines are still requiring all of their passengers to be vaccinated:
Carnival released the following statement from their president, Christine Duffy, on June 7th:
We appreciate the progress and support for our U.S. restart from the CDC and other key federal agencies; however, the current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us. As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests.
Princess Cruises is owned by Carnival – it’s expected to follow the same rules as Carnival.
Norwegian’s website currently says:
Mandatory Vaccinations Against Covid-19 on Initial Voyages
All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least 2 weeks prior to departure, in order to board. Guest vaccination requirements are currently for all sailings embarking through October 31, 2021– we will follow the science to make determinations on requirements for all other future sailings.
And in a recent press release, the cruise line said that all initial voyages would operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew. How they plan to do that out of Florida, in light of the current situation, is still a big question mark. From the Orlando Sentinel:
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank del Rio thanked Gov. Ron DeSantis for efforts to get cruising running again in the state. Del Rio had previously said that the company that also runs Oceania and Regent Seven Seas may have to avoid Florida because of the state’s stance on vaccine requirements.
“We are currently in communication with his staff and legal counsel to ensure that we can offer the safest cruise experience for our passengers departing from the cruise capital of the world,” del Rio said.
The other “big player,” Disney Cruise Lines, has not yet announced what their vaccine policy will be.
I’m sure the whole “cruises out of Florida” situation will change…and then change again…and again. But if nothing else, cruise lines are making it clear that even if they do accept passengers who are unvaccinated, said cruisers wouldn’t have as smooth sailing as those who are.
Feature Image: Pixabay
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary