Royal Caribbean to cruise from Bahamas, require COVID vaccine for passengers, crew

Royal Caribbean International and its sister cruise line, Celebrity Cruises, will require COVID vaccines for all adult passengers and crew members when they start sailing cruises in the Caribbean in June.

Royal Caribbean will sail departing from Nassau, the Bahamas starting June 12, the cruise line announced Friday.

The seven-night cruises on Adventure of the Seas will be open to adult passengers and crew members fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and passengers under the age of 18 with a negative COVID-19 test.

A return to sailing date in U.S. waters and whether vaccines will be required on vessels departing from the U.S. have not been made clear by Royal Caribbean yet.

“That is still under consideration,” Lyan Sierra-Caro, spokesperson for the cruise line told USA TODAY. “We will continue to follow the science, and we will evolve alongside the data.”

President Joe Biden directed states to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all American adults no later than May 1. 

Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in a statement that the company is looking forward to returning to the Caribbean “gradually and safely.”

“The vaccines are clearly a game changer for all of us, and with the number of vaccinations and their impact growing rapidly, we believe starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice,” Bayley said, noting that as things progress, vaccine requirements and other safety measures are expected to evolve.

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Royal Caribbean said in a release that it would also implement its Healthy Sail Panel Recommendations on Adventure of the Seas including face coverings, temperature checks and testing, with additional details on health and safety to come soon.

It’s the first time that the cruise line will board cruises for sailings beginning in the Bahamas. “We are grateful for the confidence that they have in us and our commitment to a healthy and happy return to sailing,” Bayley said.

Bookings will open Wednesday for sailings beginning June 12 through Aug. 31. The Bahamas itineraries will feature island hopping with two days spent back to back at Royal Caribbean’s private island Perfect Day at CocoCay along with time spent in Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas; and Cozumel, Mexico.

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