July 1, 2021 -- Royal Caribbean International said on Tuesday that it would require unvaccinated guests over age 12 who travel from Florida to show proof of insurance for coronavirus-related expenses.
The cruise line said in a statement that it will also require all guests over age 16 who travel from U.S. ports to be fully vaccinated, unless they travel from Florida. Those who board ships in Florida are strongly recommended to be fully vaccinated but aren’t required to be.
“To be considered fully vaccinated, guests must receive their final dose of the vaccine 14 days before sailing and provide documentation,” Royal Caribbean International wrote.
“Guests who do not or cannot provide proof of vaccination will be considered unvaccinated and subject to these terms [of insurance coverage]”
Unvaccinated passengers who leave from Florida ports between Aug. 1 to Dec. 31 will be required to have insurance with at least $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage and $50,000 per person for quarantine and medical evacuation coverage.
Unvaccinated guests will also be required to pay for the additional COVID-19 testing that vaccinated passengers don’t need to undergo. The payments range from $136 to $178 depending on the duration of the trip, according to Insider.
The new policy comes after two unvaccinated teenagers tested positive on Royal Caribbean’s Adventures of the Seas ship last week. Earlier this month, two adults tested positive on the Celebrity Millennium ship, and eight crew members tested positive on the Odyssey of the Seas ship. In those cases, the cruise line took care of the expenses, Reuters reported.
Also on Tuesday, the CDC approved six simulation cruises to sail in July and August, CNBC reported. The cruises, which are meant to test safety protocols before passengers can board, will leave from ports in Florida, New Jersey, Texas and Washington.
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas completed its simulation cruise on June 20 and received a conditional sailing certificate from the CDC. The ship will begin sailing on Friday. Unvaccinated guests won’t be allowed to access some areas of the ship, such as certain dining options, bars and the casino, Insider reported.