Royal Caribbean International updates health protocols

Royal Caribbean International has updated its health and safety protocols for departures from the United States, Barbados and Puerto Rico. The guidelines, which were developed in partnership with the company’s Healthy Sail Panel, will be in place until April 14, 2022.

The cruise line made few changes to the protocols already in place; therefore, pre-cruise testing mandates, vaccination requirements, and the use of masks on the ship saw no changes. But, Royal Caribbean has announced that it is considering possible changes to several conditions.

Royal Caribbean sends update on health protocols

The update on health protocols for Royal Caribbean ships came in a letter sent to travel agents, which are now also available online. Royal Caribbean has made a habit of providing periodic updates of its onboard health and safety measures over the past few months.

The protocols are in effect today, February 2 through April 14, 2022. While there have been no significant changes to onboard protocols that have been well established over the past eight months, the cruise line has already made arrangements for changes it may implement in the near future.

Photo credit: Melissa Mayntz

“Future protocols may require boosters, lowered vaccination ages, and testing modifications. Although currently not required to sail, the US CDC has recommended booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for eligible individuals, prior to cruise travel. As a result, we strongly recommend that guests get boosted before their cruise.

A possible recall requirement has been something on the minds of many cruise passengers past and present, but for now the company has decided to keep it a recommendation and not a requirement.

The age limit for the smallest of the cruisers has also not been adjusted; the vaccination mandate remains in place for guests 12 years and older. Younger guests 2-1 years old, if fully vaccinated, can follow the guidelines for fully vaccinated guests.

So what has changed?

Royal Caribbean has made few changes to its protocols already in place since the last period. The company states that if any changes are forthcoming, they will be announced in due course.

“Due to the fluidity of this situation, our protocols are subject to change and we are committed to keeping you informed if they do. Where possible, we will provide advance notice of any changes. Likewise, we will notify you if any requirements are reduced or eliminated. »

Although a cruise line is already changing its protocols to allow guests picked up on board, Royal Caribbean remains true to its requirements. A recovery certificate is not yet accepted for browsing. Many people had hoped that the cruise line would now drop some protocols, but it looks like the wait isn’t over yet.

This means that masks must always be used on board the ship at all times inside the ship. On the outside decks, if there are not too many people, and around the swimming pool, wearing a mask is not compulsory. The mask is also not necessary on Royal Caribbean Perfect day at CocoCay.

Royal Caribbean test requirements for the United States, Barbados and Puerto Rico

For cruises in the United States, vaccinated passengers must present a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken no later than two days before the day they board the ship. Children between the ages of 2 and 11 must provide a negative PCR test taken no later than three days before the day of embarkation; however, this test should not be performed on the day of embarkation as it may affect an antigen test which must be performed prior to embarkation.

Porto Rico

For Puerto Rico, the rules are a bit more complicated. Suppose guests board a cruise ship in Puerto Rico, regardless of their vaccination status. In this case, they must show a negative PCR or antigen test carried out within 48 hours before arriving at the San Juan airport. For international travelers, this requirement drops to 24 hours.

Royal Caribbean cruise ships in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Photo credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

To board the vessel, a test result is also required; However, provided you choose the right time, it can be the same result you used to enter Puerto Rico.

One rule is important for guests wishing to stay in Puerto Rico, especially those with young children who have not been vaccinated. If you arrive in Puerto Rico one or more days before the cruise, all unvaccinated passengers must quarantine during those days. Any non-vaccinated non-resident staying in Puerto Rico after the cruise must quarantine for seven days.

There was some good news about Puerto Rico this week. The island will let go testing requirements for layovers to the islands.


For Barbados, vaccinated travelers aged five and over must provide a negative test result to enter the country. This can be a PCR test performed within three days or a rapid PCR test performed within a day of arrival.

Unvaccinated passengers between the ages of 2 and 11 must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result at the cruise terminal taken no later than three days prior to the day you board the ship. This may be the same test used to enter the country.

Royal Caribbean will retest all guests in the terminal before boarding and before leaving the ship. The cruise line will bear the cost of these antigen tests. The departure test can then also be used to return home if it meets the entry requirements for your country.

Although some countries have already abandoned COVID measures, Royal Caribean does not believe now is the time. Health and safety procedures will likely remain in place for cruise passengers for the time being. Not just for Royal Caribbean, but for all cruise lines around the world.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship

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