A popular cruise company is updating its COVID-19 testing policy on many of its sails, joining others who have already done so.
Royal Caribbean is making changes for travelers who have been vaccinated. Starting August 8, testing will be required for unvaccinated guests on all trips and only for vaccinated guests on trips of six nights or more. It hopes to lift the test for longer trips in the near future.
“Since our return to service last year, we have seen more than 3 million guests enjoy cruise holidays responsibly within an evolving operating environment,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “Last week, CDC ended its COVID-19 program for cruise ships. Based on this change, we are continuing to adapt our protocols to more closely align with the rest of society and the operations of other travel and leisure businesses. This means that we are transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us, while always working with our destination partners to meet their rules.
Margaritaville At Sea Updates Testing Policy
Royal Caribbean joins other cruise lines that have already changed their policies.
Margaritaville at Sea updated their policy on July 22. It no longer requires testing for vaccinated guests.
“We continue to conduct vaccination [with some exceptions] Cruises departing from the Port of Palm Beach with advanced protocols, in accordance with Margaritaville at Sea Travel Policy. We are not only adhering to the latest CDC guidelines but have put in place additional safety and protective measures to provide you with a safe, healthy and fun microvacation. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we will continue to adopt our protocols based on public health advice.”
Unvaccinated guests must provide a negative rapid test result, administered by a verified testing agency, taken no later than 24 hours prior to sailing.
Virgin Trips COVID Testing Policy
Negative COVID tests are no longer required for passengers on Virgin Voyages, however, the cruise line may require tests for other reasons, such as cases of recovery within 90 days.
According to Virgin’s Before You sale, travelers should be fully vaccinated. Boosters are not required, but the line does offer a reminder that some ports may require boosters for travel across the country.
Vaccination requirements are expected to be relaxed in the future.
Other Cruise Line Trial Policies
As of August 1, all passengers on Norwegian Cruise Line are exempt from pre-cruise testing requirements except in the US, Canada and Greece. All vaccinated guests must provide proof of a negative COVID test 2 days prior to the date of vaccination.
Viking highly recommends, but does not require, pre-departure COVID-19 testing, unless it is required by the destination. Select cruises on Viking, until June 10, 2022 orion and expedition trips on Viking Octantis Pre-departure COVID-19 testing will continue to be required in the US and Canada.
Carnival is not changing its policies, posting on its Guest Protocol site, “Carnival welcomes CDC’s decision to replace its current public health protocols with a new set of guidelines for health operations on cruise ships. We will review these as they become available, but there are no immediate changes to Carnival’s COVID-19 protocols. When planning an upcoming cruise, guests should continue to follow this page, as well as prior to Carnival -Cruise communication must also continue.”
Disney Cruise Line has also not changed its policy and guests must provide proof of a negative COVID test taken no later than 2 days before setting sail.
Stay up to date on travel policies in our Travel News category.