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Royal Caribbean International will no longer require any of its cruise passengers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as it had previously planned.
In a press release Friday announcing cruises for sale on 8 of its ships from U.S. ports this summer, starting with Freedom of the Seas from Port Miami on July 2, the company said it will recommend passengers get the COVID-19 vaccine, but not require it. The announcement is a reversal from previous statements and vaccine protocols the company submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month that said it would require all passengers at least 18 years old and older to be vaccinated.
“Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible,” the company said in a statement. “Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date.”
The policy change appears an apparent submission to Governor Ron DeSantis, who insisted that there will be no exception made for cruise companies to a newly passed Florida law that fines companies $5,000 each time they ask a patron to provide proof of vaccination.
Royal Caribbean International’s sister brand Celebrity Cruises (both owned by Royal Caribbean Group) is still requiring all passengers 16 years old or older be vaccinated on its seven-night Caribbean cruises that are restarting from Port Everglades on June 26. Florida’s law prohibiting vaccination status inquiries goes into effect on July 1.
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How do you feel about this policy change from Royal Caribbean? Let us know in the comments.