MIAMI — Royal Caribbean says it will not accept passengers with mixed vaccinations, at least not from most U.S. ports.
The cruise line says its updated policy is in line with the CDC’s guidance that currently does not recognize any mixed combination of COVID-19 vaccines as fully vaccinated.
Royal Caribbean resumed operations on July 2, when Freedom of the Seas set sail from PortMiami.
The update on mixed vaccinations comes just days after six passengers onboard Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19.
Royal Caribbean says that passengers boarding ships departing from U.S. ports “must complete a vaccine series with products from the same manufacturer and have a sailing date 14 days after their vaccine series is complete.”
Royal Caribbean adds that the CDC “advises that a vaccine series should be completed with products from the same manufacturer, as the safety of a mixed-product series has not been fully evaluated. Currently, the CDC does not recognize any mixed combination of COVID-19 vaccines as fully vaccinated.
Anyone who’s been following Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ legal battle with the CDC knows that so far companies in the state of Florida can be fined if they demand proof of vaccination. Royal Caribbean says that for cruises departing from Florida, “we strongly recommend being fully vaccinated to sail. Guests cruising from Florida with a vaccination regimen that does not satisfy CDC guidelines for U.S. departures are permitted to sail, but they will be considered unvaccinated and must meet all requirements for unvaccinated guests. That includes testing at their own expense, insurance requirements and all onboard protocols.”
For cruises departing from ports outside of the U.S., Royal Caribbean says passengers who are vaccinated with a mixed regimen consisting of two shots of the following manufacturer combinations: Pfizer and Moderna, or AstraZeneca with either Pfizer or Moderna, will be able to sail. Doses must be separated by at least 28 days and not more than 42 days for mixes of Pfizer and Moderna, and combinations of AstraZeneca with Pfizer or Moderna must be separated by at least 4 weeks and not more than 12 weeks.
However, Royal Caribbean adds that “mixed vaccines may not be accepted at all ports of call. Guests who are vaccinated with a mixed series may not be allowed to go ashore at these ports or may need to undergo additional testing if they wish to go ashore.”
The cruise lines says it will continue to evaluate and update its health and safety measures in compliance with federal, state and local government and health authorities.
6 POSITIVE CASES ON ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS
Six passengers sailing on Adventure of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19 near the end of their cruise and were quarantined. Passengers travelling with them were traced and tested negative.
The passengers – four adults and two minors, all Americans – were on the ship for a 7-day trip that left the Bahamas July 24 and returned on July 30. They were tested July 29 while the ship was at sea.
The adults were all vaccinated against COVID-19. One had mild symptoms of the virus while the other three did not. They were not travelling together. The two minors – who were in the same group but not traveling with any of the four adults who tested positive – were not vaccinated and were not showing symptoms.
ST. KITTS SITUATION
Meanwhile St. Kitts & Nevis has sent out a statement outlining its position after Royal Caribbean announced it was cancelling its call at St. Kitts on the Aug. 8 sailing of Allure of the Seas.
“St. Kitts & Nevis today clarified that there are no capacity limitations on the number of passengers that can enter the Federation on a cruise ship during the current phased re-opening of the cruise tourism sector,” according to a brief statement from the islands.
“The Royal Caribbean blog, dated Aug. 2, 2021, stating “St. Kitts recently announced a new policy which only allows 700 guests to visit their island per ship. The Allure of the Seas sailing on August 8th will now visit Philipsburg, St. Maarten instead,” was not accurate.
“Minister of Tourism, Transport and Ports, the Honourable Lindsay F.P. Grant noted, “The cruise protocols for the resumption of cruise tourism do not place limits on the number of passengers allowed to enter the Federation on a cruise ship. The decision by Royal Caribbean for the Allure of the Seas not to make a port call in St. Kitts on their August 8th, 2021 sailing was not because of the 700-cruise passenger maximum capacity per ship”.”
St. Kitts & Nevis adds that it has been working with Royal Caribbean and all cruise line partners to facilitate the successful return of cruise tourism, and looks forward to welcoming the Allure of the Seas and other cruise line vessels as the re-opening continues.
With file from The Associated Press