Royal Caribbean Extends Protocols for Sailings in North America and Europe

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The health and safety protocols that are in place onboard Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships sailing from US homeports have been extended through the summer. The protocols were due to expire on June 30, but the cruise line chose to give guests a clear idea of what to expect during summer cruises this year. 

The protocols for sailing from the United States will now be in place through September 30. At the same time, Royal Caribbean also extended the protocols for European cruises, which will now be in place through June 30. 

Cruise Protocols Extended

Royal Caribbean will continue to keep the COVID-19 prevention measures onboard its ships through the summer of 2022. The company will not be putting any changes in place; the COVID-19 protocols have proven to be an effective countermeasure to prevent significant outbreaks onboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ships. 

While many cruisers are waiting for the day that the measures will expire, that day is certainly not here yet.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

As a signee to the CDC’s voluntary COVID-19 program for cruise ships, Royal Caribbean is obligated to follow the procedures set out by the CDC. It seems unlikely the government agency will allow the end of those measures soon. 

Royal Caribbean informed guests of the extension in an email, stating the following: “We are reaching out to inform you of an extension to our existing health & safety protocols for both North America and European departures. Our North America protocols will be extended for sailings departing on or before September 30, 2022.” 

“Please note the only notable adjustment to our previous health & safety requirements includes terminal testing updates for departures from Italy, with the full details provided below. The remainder of our protocols remain unchanged and are simply extended beyond a broader sailing window.” 

Royal Caribbean US Departures 

Royal Caribbean has successfully operated from US homeports for almost a year now. The company has seen very few issues regarding COVID-19 cases onboard and has managed to prevent any significant outbreaks from happening onboard its ships. This, in part, is due to the strict measures in place. 

All passengers aged 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated 14 days before departure. The younger passengers who have been fully vaccinated can follow the rules for vaccinated guests.

Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas in Miami
Photo Copyright: Cruise Hive

Guests two years old and up should also present proof of a negative covid-19 test result. For vaccinated guests age 12 and older, that test must be taken within 48 hours before sailing.

Unvaccinated guests should show proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than three days before sailing, but this test cannot be taken on embarkation day.

While onboard, guests do not have to wear a mask, although Royal Caribbean does recommend the use, while all unvaccinated guests are expected to wear a mask.

During shore excursions and while ashore in port, guests must follow the local guidelines in place, including the possibility of the mandatory use of a mask ashore and taking a bubble tour to go ashore.

Europe Protocols Also Extended

With the cruise season in Europe now well underway, Royal Caribbean also decided to extend the current protocols for European sailings through June 30, 2022, with a slight change added to the Italian requirements.

There will be no more testing requirements in the terminal for cruises sailing from Italian ports, most notably Civitavecchia and Ravenna (Venice).

Royal Caribbean has six ships scheduled with departures from Italian ports, these include Brilliance of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Cliff Day /

Requirements include an up-to-date vaccination mandate for all guests aged 12 and older. To be considered up-to-date, guests must have received all doses in their vaccine series and their booster if the second vaccine was administered over 270 days (9 months) ago.

As stated, guests will no longer be tested at the terminal but still need to provide negative test results taken no more than two days before boarding day if fully vaccinated. Those guests considered unvaccinated should show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken no more than one day before boarding day.

Passengers who are unvaccinated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or who are not up-to-date with their vaccines will require additional testing during sailings from Italy. This onboard testing will be at the guest’s expense at $55 per test. This testing will be complimentary for unvaccinated guests ages 6 – 11 years who require testing.

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