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Royal Caribbean will require the COVID-19 vaccine for all passengers over 16 years old

Royal Caribbean
  • Royal Caribbean has announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for guests.
  • The major cruise line previously mandated the covid vaccine for crew members only.
  • “We want you to be more comfortable walking on board a ship than walking down Main Street,” Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean’s CEO, told the BBC.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Eager cruisers looking to resume sailing with Royal Caribbean will now have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to updated guidance from the major cruise line.

“The combination of the vaccines and testing and contact tracing, all these kinds of protocols really helps us reach our objective, which is to make cruising safer than in your home community,” Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean’s CEO, told the BBC. “We want you to be more comfortable walking onboard a ship than walking down Main Street.”

The cruise line’s vaccine mandate will apply to guests who are at least 16 years old aboard ships sailing from the US or the Bahamas, according to Royal Caribbean’s frequently asked questions page. Following August 1, this age requirement will fall to 12 years old or older. Similarly, passengers 18 years old or older sailing from other international ports will also have to be fully vaccinated.

Guests under this age requirement who haven’t been vaccinated will instead have to be tested for the virus.

Regardless of the port location, guests will have to show proof of full vaccination, completed at least 14 days before the cruise departs. Like Norwegian – which also mandated the COVID-19 vaccine in April – this request for proof of the vaccine could set Royal Caribbean up for a skirmish with Florida, which has already barred vaccine passports and local businesses from requiring them.

Read more: Carnival and Royal Caribbean salaries revealed: From $32,000 to $383,000, here’s how much the cruise industry’s power players pay some of their employees

Prior to this sweeping vaccine mandate, Royal Caribbean had been announcing select “fully vaccinated” cruises. However, it shied away from creating a blanket COVID-19 vaccine mandate for guests, although the cruise line previously said it would expect crew members to be vaccinated before sailings return.

The announcement of these select vaccinated cruises later resulted in boycott demands in late March across Facebook and Twitter. But at the time, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said these boycott demands were based on a “misconception.”

The US hasn’t mandated the COVID vaccine for all eager cruiser goers, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that cruise lines with 98% of crew and 95% of passengers vaccinated can skip the “simulated voyages” that would otherwise be necessary for cruise lines to resume “restricted passenger voyages” again.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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