Royal Caribbean finishes test cruise, sets COVID-19 rules for upcoming voyages

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas has finished its test cruise and it seems that paying customers will soon be able to sail once again.

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Cruises are expected to resume in July on the ship and the company has issued guidance for those ready to embark when the vessel sets sail from PortMiami.

Officials at Royal Caribbean “strongly recommend all guests 16 and older be fully vaccinated” with the final dose given at least 14 days before sailing.

Guests will have to provide documentation that they’ve received their full coronavirus shot.

If no documentation is provided, passengers will be considered unvaccinated.

All people designated unvaccinated may have to undergo COVID-19 testing at their own expense.

If passengers don’t agree to adhere to the additional testing or other safety protocols, then they can get a full refund, the company said.

The tests will be done by a third-party vendor and will cost $136 a person aged 16 and up, and will be charged to the stateroom.

For children aged 2 through 15, the cruise line will cover the test cost.

Prior to the cruise, unvaccinated guests aged 16 and older will have to undergo a PCR test at an accredited lab of the guest’s choice no more than three days before setting sail. Passengers must provide the cruise line documentation of negative test results.

Then at the cruise terminal, all unvaccinated guests 2 years and older will have to undergo a PCR test during check-in.

Before disembarking the ship at the end of the trip, unvaccinated passengers will undergo a third test the night before docking.

For more on the testing procedures, click here.

During the boarding process, passengers are being requested to wear face masks when they arrive at the terminal during the time they pre-selected.

In some instances vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers will be separated in some areas of the ship.

Masks are also required in indoor settings for all passengers, except in staterooms, outdoors or on CocoCay, unless it is in a crowded setting.

Masks are not required at bars, lounges, restaurants and entertainment venues for vaccinated guests or at events that are designated for vaccinated guests only.

There will also be physical distancing limitations.

For more on the measures being taken by Royal Caribbean on the Freedom of the Seas, click here.