Cruise ship passengers say they were barred from boarding due to changing COVID-19 protocol

More than half a dozen cruise passengers say they were not allowed to board a Royal Caribbean vessel because they are not vaccinated.

But they insist the cruise line told them all they needed was a negative COVID-19 test.

That cruise ship set sail Friday night. And it left behind some very upset passengers. They say Royal Caribbean made them feel anything but welcome.

“That,” declared Marilyn Sylver, pointing to the ship she was expecting to board. “They wouldn’t let us on.”

Sylver did not try to hide her frustration in a video she made, standing outside Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, barred from boarding because she and her family members have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine.

“They’re not talking like they are going to help us in any kind of way,” said Sylver, by telephone.

She says Royal Caribbean told them they needed just a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours in advance to go on their Alaska cruise, a trip that was two years in the making.

“They said vaccinated and unvaccinated is welcome,” insisted Sylver.

So, they expected to be welcomed onto the ship, albeit with limited access once on board.

“But when we got here, they acted like we wasted our time and we knew better,” said Sylver.

But, she says, “we did not.”

A spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean says they should have known. In late May, the cruise line issued a news release saying all Alaska-bound passengers out of Seattle would have to be vaccinated beginning August 1.

Sylver says not even their travel agent knew about the change.

Nevertheless, a few minutes after six, Ovation of the Seas set sail leaving them to fend for themselves on land.

“The boat has taken off,” lamented Sylver. “Nobody has talked to us. Nobody has offered us transportation or seen that we had a place to stay. They just keep like ‘you’re at fault.’”

Their trip of a lifetime to Alaska had run aground.

In fact, she says they are all retired, all on fixed incomes. And they frankly can’t afford to stay the night in Seattle and then fly home early to Illinois.

They say they will work to be made whole by Royal Caribbean.