Royal Caribbean International will no longer require any of its cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as it had previously planned.
The battle over COVID vaccination passports in Florida was downgraded to a setback by Royal Caribbean yesterday.
After Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation fining companies $ 5,000 per incident for requiring identification of the COVID vaccine, Royal Caribbean withdrew from the fight.
Royal Caribbean only ‘recommending’ vaccine to cruise passengers, stated in a Fox News article.
In a note issued a few hours ago, the company announced that the cruises for sale on eight of the ships that make up the fleet, departing from the US ports this summer – starting with Freedom of the Seas which will sail on July 2 from PortMiami – ” will recommend that passengers get vaccinated against Covid, but will not require it. The announcement is a backtrack from previous statements and vaccine protocols that the company submitted to the CDC last month, when it argued that all passengers aged 18 and over would need to be vaccinated.
“Guests are strongly advised to set sail fully vaccinated if eligible,” the company said in a statement. “Those who are not vaccinated or whose vaccination cannot be verified will have to undergo swabs and follow other protocols that will be announced at a later time”.
For the US media this is a turnaround that represents an alignment to the will of Governor Ron DeSantis who had announced no exception to the new law passed in Florida which provides for a $ 5,000 fine to companies every time proof of vaccination is requested.
Here is the summer line-up:
- Freedom of the Seas: 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Miami, starting July 2
- Odyssey of the Seas: 6- and 8-night Southern and Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, starting July 3
- Serenade of the Seas: 7-night Alaska sailings from Seattle, starting July 19
- Allure of the Seas: 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 8
- Ovation of the Seas: 7-night Alaska itineraries from Seattle, starting Aug. 13
- Symphony of the Seas: 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings from Miami, starting Aug. 14
- Independence of the Seas: 7-night Western Caribbean sailings from Galveston, Texas, starting Aug. 15
- Mariner of the Seas: 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay sailings from Port Canaveral, starting Aug. 23