Royal Caribbean International announced Tuesday that all guests over the age of 16 arriving from US ports except Florida must be fully vaccinated.
Travelers aboard ships departing from Florida ports are strongly advised to be fully vaccinated, but not required. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning companies from asking customers whether or not they had been vaccinated against Covid-19 and preventing the cruise industry from demanding proof of vaccination.
However, the company announced Tuesday that passengers departing from ports in Florida between August 1 and December 31 who are not vaccinated will need to purchase travel insurance. The guidelines must cover all unvaccinated guests over the age of 12 with a minimum of $ 25,000 per person for medical coverage and $ 50,000 per person for quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive Covid-19 test result. Guests also have to pay for Covid-19 tests.
Until August 1st, the compulsory vaccination will be extended to travelers over 12 years of age.
The company said all travelers who are not yet eligible for vaccines must have a negative Covid-19 test result and follow certain health protocols.
Six simulation cruises were approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday to sail later this summer. These voyages depart from ports in Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington in July and August.
Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas has received a Conditional Sailing Certificate from the CDC that will allow them to start sailing on Friday. The ship completed its simulation voyage on June 20 from Port Miami.
The cruise industry is among the last to return to pre-pandemic operations. The CDC allowed cruises to return this year with strict health protocols and requirements to prevent outbreaks on board ships after multiple outbreaks on board ships last year.
According to Royal Caribbean guest surveys, 90% of all guests will be fully vaccinated.
The company’s new vaccine policy comes days after two unvaccinated guests under the age of 16 tested positive for Covid-19 on the cruise company’s Adventure of the Seas ship.
Weeks earlier, two guests aboard Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Millennium cruise tested positive and the company’s Odyssey of the Seas was delayed from sailing after eight crew members tested positive.
Cruise ship stocks have fallen again after taking a major blow during the pandemic. Royal Caribbean Cruises’ shares are up more than 11% this year and have a market cap of just over $ 21 billion.