Confusion over Royal Caribbean procedure for consecutive cruises
Royal Caribbean was quick to return from an email sent to guests this week. The email said the cruise line has a new policy in place that requires all guests on consecutive cruises to pack all of their items and leave the ship between their cruises. Just hours after the cruise line sent the email, a new email was sent stating that it was an error.
The cruise line sent out the new procedure to guests this week, which comes as the cruise line has actively reviewed and renewed its onboard policies for vaccinations, back-to-back cruises, and onboard and ashore testing since Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands changed their entry requirements.
Royal Caribbean apologizes
Royal Caribbean was quick to respond to the backlash the company received on various online and social media. In a reaction, the company said the following:
“On our last consecutive update, we provided incorrect information and apologize for the confusion. We had informed all consecutive guests that they had to pack their bags and bring them to the terminal between departures. This is a mistake. You don’t need to pack your bags and bring them to the terminal. Below is corrected consecutive testing information in bold and some additional details for our consecutive cruisers.“
The new policy sent by the company will likely be received in a much more positive light, as customers are not required to pack and leave the ship with them between cruises. In addition, the tests will be carried out on board the ship and not in the terminal. This means that passengers only need to leave the ship for customs and immigration and check in for their new cruise:
Passengers on consecutive cruises must present proof of complete COVID 19 vaccination and must pass a COVID 19 test producing negative results between each navigation. This test will be administered on board at no cost to the guest.
The regular back-to-back process will take place on the day of the rotation, meaning back-to-back guests will disembark (leaving their luggage on board) and check-in for the next cruise will take place.
If you do consecutive cruises on different ships within 3 days, we will organize a free pre-cruise COVID-19 test on the last day of your navigation. Just let customer service on board a few days before you disembark and they will organize the free test for you.
Below is our original article that describes the original email that was sent to consecutive guests. This information is no longer current.
Pack your bags and wait
Consecutive cruises have long been a popular option for guests who want to stay on a cruise ship for a little longer. As many ships have alternative routes, staying on board for a second cruise to explore new ports of call comes at a cost.
In a normal situation, guests who stay for a consecutive trip can simply keep their personal effects on the ship and even in the cabin if they are booked in the same cabin for the next trip. A new policy that has been emailed to Royal Caribbean customers who have booked on consecutive cruises changes this:
Between two consecutive crossings, passengers must undergo additional tests in the terminal. Passengers will be required to disembark the ship with their luggage, undergo tests and, once they receive their negative test result, will be greeted on board during their check-in.
This then means that the cruise line requires all consecutive passengers to pack all their bags, disembark from the ship, undergo tests, wait for the test result and return on board for an assigned boarding hour. He is all the difference with Carnival Cruise Line, which only requires passengers to leave the ship to go through customs and immigration procedures.
The procedure is also not in accordance with the protocol established by the CDC in CSO manual. This indicates that cruise ship operators should collect samples for SARS-CoV-2 viral testing unless passengers are fully vaccinated or have recovery documentation within the last 90 days for boarded passengers, disembarked passengers if the trip lasts longer than four nights, and passengers on consecutive crossings before the vessel sailing on the next voyage. That being said, the new procedure that cruise lines have in place to test all guests before departure is also not something the CDC is demanding.
Cruise lines have come under increased surveillance of late for COVID-19 outbreaks aboard their ships. Royal Caribbean may take the opportunity to implement additional cleaning on board ships.
By instructing guests to leave the ship, guest cabins and passenger areas around the ship can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, ensuring that any residue from a previous cruise is removed from the ship as much as possible. And, by asking guests to be tested ashore and wait for results ashore, all cases will belong to the next trip and can be marked as found cases before a trip begins.
Also Read: 13 Royal Caribbean Ships Resumed As Mariner of the Seas Restarts From Port Canaveral
Whatever the reason, it is evident that Royal Caribbean is taking no chances to ensure that COVID stays away from its ships. The line has now implemented a 100% vaccination mandate on all of its vessels worldwide.
The only exception is for those under 12 and those whose medical conditions prevent vaccination, provided they do not take a consecutive cruise. Consecutive cruises are only available to passengers with all members of the traveling party having been fully vaccinated.