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Royal Caribbean International cruises have announced a new policy on COVID-19 travel requirements, allowing guests to board without testing for the virus beforehand. In a recent update, the cruise line revealed that the relaxed measures apply to all passengers “regardless of their vaccination status”, though not all sailings will benefit from the “simplified” terms of travel.

The relaxed measures, which have been in place since Wednesday, November 2, 2022, allow passengers to board the majority of Royal Caribbean sailings without testing before departure.

In a statement released earlier this week, the cruise line revealed that the decision had been made to “further simplify the experience for its guests”, regardless of their vaccination status.

It comes as travel restrictions around the world continue to ease following the peak of the pandemic.

There are however some restrictions to the policy which apply to three sailings.

On their website, Royal Caribbean International states that cruises from the US and Caribbean with stops in Colombia, Haiti, or Honduras are still bound by testing measures.

The same goes for Transatlantic cruises and cruises from Australia.

Cruises from the US and Caribbean

All guests aged 12 or above have three days to take a PCR or antigen test prior to the cruise, regardless of the duration of their stay.

This applies to passengers who are not fully vaccinated. According to Royal Caribbean, a guest is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the required number of doses have been administered in their WHO or US-FDA-approved vaccine series.

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Transatlantic cruises

The cruise line states that all guests aged five and older must bring a negative test result for COVID-19 within two days of boarding.

Passengers aged four and below are not bound by any testing measures.

Tests must be supervised by a health professional, such as a doctor, pharmacy technician, public health worker, or telehealth professional.

Royal Caribbean said: “Telehealth testing at home is accepted for vaccinated guests, and must be conducted under live video supervision. Tests must be arranged on your own and are at your own expense.”

Cruises from Australia

Royal Caribbean sailings from Australia will continue to operate with stringent testing requirements.

The cruise line states that all guests aged two and above must present a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within one day of boarding.

This applies to all cruises from Australia, regardless of the length of stay and vaccination status of passengers.

Proof of testing is accepted in the form of a printout, PCR email confirmation, image of your RAT test, or the negative test itself.

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What restrictions apply on board?

Regional travel restrictions vary by ship and destination, though the cruise line has noted that they will continue to take measures on all vessels to protect passengers.

Royal Caribbean said: “The cruise line’s additional layers of health and safety measures exceed other vacation experiences, including the routine monitoring and vaccination of all crew members and keeping them up to date with boosters when they are eligible, enhanced testing and treatment capabilities in our onboard medical facilities, and more.”

The international fleet has joined a handful of other cruise operators including Cunard, Virgin Voyages and Norweigan Cruise Line in dropping restrictions.

Disney is thought to be next on the list to strip back COVID-19 testing requirements for all passengers from Monday, November 14, 2022.

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