No casino? Certain bars off limits? And no spa sessions?
It sounds drastic, but that’s what Royal Caribbean has laid out for its first cruises if a passenger sails unvaccinated.
According to the company’s website, “Since the majority of our guests will be vaccinated on Freedom of the Seas, there will be venues and events restricted to vaccinated guests only. We’ll do our best to create opportunities for all guests to enjoy their time with us. Please note, your SeaPass card will be required to access lounges, shows and dining venues, so keep it handy at all times during your cruise.”
The restrictions apply only to July sailings of Freedom of the Seas for right now, which are slated to start cruising from Miami in a matter of days. But the rules spell out that the onboard experience for passengers without the shot is going to be very different.
Different Rules for Sailing Without the Shot
As the first cruises return in the United States, we’re seeing exactly what’s changing as ships learn to sail again in a world with the virus. While cruise lines have announced a number of rules and requirements, the biggest by far is that many are opting to require vaccines of nearly everyone on the ship.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean (along with others) have all announced routes that require passengers eligible for the shot be vaccinated to sail. But the capital of cruising — Florida — throws a wrench in those plans.
There, state law says that businesses, including cruise lines, can’t require proof of the shot from customers. That means if you want, you can sail unvaccinated from Florida.
But don’t think there aren’t consequences to sailing without a vaccine. Cruise lines — especially Royal Caribbean — have announced a number of changes if you choose to sail without the shot or can’t receive it yet (such as children under 12 years old).
Among the changes include sharp fees for testing (nearly $180 per person if sailing a six-night cruise or longer, children under 12 get free testing) and requirements for travel insurance if unvaccinated.
There is also another set of restrictions announced by Royal Caribbean. If you sail unvaccinated, then many places on the ship won’t offer access in order to comply with CDC guidelines.
16 Different Places Onboard With Restricted Access
Royal Caribbean has said repeatedly that it expects to update protocols on its ships as time goes on. For now, however, unvaccinated passengers sailing in July aboard Freedom of the Seas from Miami will have a total of 16 different places on the ship where access is limited.
The cruise line put all the restrictions in a chart posted on its website. Take a look:
This list includes three restaurants, several bars and lounges, pool areas, onboard parties, and even the casino and spa. So if you want to throw the dice or get a massage, you’ll need the vaccine.
In addition, certain areas of the dining room are also restricted. There will also be select showtimes where unvaccinated passengers can attend.
Here’s everywhere unvaccinated passengers will face restricted access during their cruise:
- Chef’s Table
- Izumi Hibachi & Sushi
- Deck 3 of Main Dining Room
- R Bar
- Schooner Bar
- The Pub
- Viking Crown Nightclub
- Solarium Bar
- Solarium Pool
- 70s Party in Studio B
- HUSH! Silent Party
- RED Party
- Art Auctions
- Casino Royale
- Casino Bar
- Vitality Spa
Vaccinated passengers, however, don’t face these restrictions. They are offered access to all areas of the ship as they please.
That may sound tough, but cruise lines have a strong incentive to ensure everyone on the ship is as safe and healthy as possible and also must adhere to CDC rules. This limited access is just one more reason sailing with the shot is not only the healthy thing to do, but also the smart way to cruise.