Here Are Royal Caribbean’s New Protocols for July Cruises Aboard the Freedom of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International has confirmed its health and safety protocols for the Freedom of the Seas and its July sailings from Miami.

The company said it strongly recommends that all guests 16 and older be fully vaccinated and that at check-in, guests will be asked to provide documentation of their vaccination, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.

Those who are 16 and older and do not have or are unable to provide documentation will be considered unvaccinated.

Unvaccinated guests must undergo additional COVID-19 testing per the following:

  • As a requirement to sail with Royal Caribbean, all unvaccinated guests must undergo multiple COVID-19 tests. Testing at the terminal prior to embarkation and onboard prior to disembarkation will be conducted by licensed and accredited third-party testing providers that the company have contracted.
  • Unvaccinated guests must register for this testing and agree to the third-party testing provider terms and conditions. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.
  • The total charge from the third-party testing vendor for these tests is $136. This amount will be applied to the guest’s onboard expense account. Royal Caribbean will pay the testing vendor(s) on the guest’s behalf and will not retain any part of the testing costs. For children not yet eligible to be vaccinated, the company will cover the cost of any required testing.

The testing requirements for unvaccinated guests:


Unvaccinated guests 16 years of age and older will need to undergo an RT-PCR test administered by an accredited laboratory of the guest’s choice, and taken within three days of sailing. Royal Caribbean said it will require documentation of a negative result for this test prior to embarkation. All costs for this test are the unvaccinated guest’s responsibility.

At the Terminal

Unvaccinated guests 2 years of age and older are required to take an RT-PCR test when checking in at the terminal, which will be administered by a testing vendors. Registration details will be sent via email in advance.

Prior to Disembarking

While onboard, unvaccinated guests 2 years of age and older will be required to undergo antigen testing within 24 hours of disembarking at the end of the voyage. This test will be conducted the day before the cruise ends by one of the company’s testing vendors. Guests will be notified onboard about how to register for this test.

The Cruise Experience

  • Royal Caribbean said that vaccinated and unvaccinated guests are required to wear masks indoors unless seated and actively eating or drinking.
  • Masks are not required in a guest’s stateroom when they are with their traveling party, outdoors, or at Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless in a crowded setting. Guests under the age of 2 do not need to wear a mask.
  • Masks won’t be required for vaccinated guests when in venues (bars, lounges, restaurants and entertainment) or at events designated for vaccinated guests only.
  • In the coming days, the company said it is expecting updated guidance from the CDC on mask policies for vaccinated guests and may revise these protocols.
  • Venues will be set up with proper spacing and Royal Caribbean said it would ask guests to abide by physical distancing, especially when interacting with those outside of their traveling party.
  • SeaPass cards will be required to access lounges, shows and dining venues.
  • All dining venues will offer spaced seating. The company said it is “strong encouraging” guests to make dining reservations via Cruise Planner before the cruise or the Royal Caribbean app onboard.
  • In the Main Dining Room, the company said it will designate areas for vaccinated and unvaccinated reservations to dine separately.
  • My Time Dining will not be available to unvaccinated guests. In addition, while Windjammer will be open, the food will be served by the ship’s crew
  • Venues will offer spaced seating and more showtimes throughout the sailing. Select showtimes will be for vaccinated guests and others for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. More information will be provided onboard.
  • All guests are subject to restrictions and requirements as defined by local authorities in the ports the ship visits. “It is reasonable to expect that unvaccinated guests will be subject to stricter protocols than vaccinated guests,” the company said.


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