Royal Caribbean guests on voyages out of the United States that are five nights or longer will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to sail, according to a new policy posted by the company.
The update comes as the United States grapples with rising cases of COVID-19 – specifically the highly-contagious Delta variant.
Under the new order, all passengers over the age of two must provide a negative COVID-19 test, regardless of vaccine status, taken no more than three days prior to departure, for sailings that are five nights or longer.
The protocol applies to all U.S. sailings between July 31 and Aug. 31 and proof of negative results will be shown at check-in at the terminal.
Both PCR or antigen tests will be accepted and the results can be printed out, or presented on a phone, such as an emailed result from a lab.
“Costs associated with this test are the guests’ responsibility,” reads the new policy.
In a statement obtained by Royal Caribbean Blog, the cruise line said it introduced the new protocol as a precaution.
“In an abundance of caution, and to ensure that our guests, crew and the communities we visit remain healthy we are requiring all guests over the age of 2, regardless of vaccine status, to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding on sailings 5-night or longer. This new policy is for all sailings in the U.S. from July 31 to August 31. The test must be administered no more than three days prior to sailing and proof of negative results must be shown at check-in,” the statement reads.
“All other testing requirements and policies are still in place. This is an additional layer of precaution to ensure the safety of everyone onboard. We will continue to monitor public health circumstances as they evolve and make necessary adjustments to our protocols.”
Until now, Royal Caribbean has only required non-vaccinated passengers to show a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding.
Royal Caribbean has mandated that passengers 16 years of age and older on sailings out of several U.S. ports show proof of vaccination to sail (the age will drop to 12 on Sunday).
The exception, however, is for sailings out of Florida, where the company has responded to a state law outlawing vaccine mandates by relaxing its proof of vaccination policy.