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Royal Caribbean is requiring passengers be vaccinated before sailing this summer

Royal Caribbean cruises will resume sail in the Bahamas starting in June, the company announced.
Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
A Royal Caribbean Cruise ship called the Majesty of the Seas sets out at Port Everglades and will no longer go to Cuba, on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed major new travel restrictions on visits to Cuba by U.S. citizens, including a ban on many forms of educational and recreational travel.

Royal Caribbean cruises will resume sail in the Bahamas starting in June, but only fully vaccinated adult passengers will be allowed on board, the company announced Friday.

The cruise line says a series of 7-night cruises aboard the Adventure of the Seas has been scheduled this summer, setting sail from the company's new homeport of Nassau, Bahamas beginning June 12. 

Staff and crew members will be vaccinated for the coronavirus, according to Royal Caribbean, and passengers over the age of 18 will have to be as well. Anyone under the age of 18 must have a negative test result, the company says.

“We are excited to get back to delivering memorable vacations in 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. As we move forward, we expect this requirement and other measures will inevitably evolve over time,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

Passengers will be able to book a cruise starting Wednesday, March 24. 

Having Nassau be the new homeport for the cruise line seems to be a way to work around the current cruising guidances by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since March of last year, the cruise line industry has been virtually shut down in the US.

The CDC's new cruising guidelines say that in order to resume carrying passengers, the companies have to demonstrate they have procedures for testing, quarantining and isolating passengers and crew. 

They will have to build test labs on all ships and make their own arrangements to isolate or quarantine passengers onshore, if needed. Before being allowed to sail, they will have to conduct mock voyages with volunteers playing passengers who get sick, the CDC said.

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