USA: Royal Caribbean has announced that guests boarding their cruise ships in Texas and Florida will not be required to demonstrate proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
The company said Friday that six ships will resume sailing from ports in Texas and Florida beginning in July and August. All crew members will be vaccinated against COVID-19, but new laws banning “vaccine passports” in Texas and Florida have forced Royal Caribbean to abandon its vaccination requirement for all guests at least 16 years of age.
Nevertheless, Royal Caribbean will still administer COVID-19 tests to unvaccinated guests and those “unable to verify vaccination” and also ask them to follow certain health and safety protocols.
“Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement. “Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have signed bills banning certain entities from requesting proof of vaccination. Florida’s law warns that the state will fine a business $5,000 each time it requests vaccination proof from customers.
Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley said that 90 percent of all guests who have booked cruises with his company are either vaccinated or planning to get vaccinated. The company will still require guests boarding ships in Seattle and The Bahamas to demonstrate proof of vaccination.