Royal Caribbean is easing some mask rules for vaccinated passengers on ships starting in just a few days.
Following recent comments from Royal Caribbean International President Michael Bayley that the cruise line would “start removing many of the protocols that exist today,” the cruise line made the change to masking requirements for cruises departing February 15, 2022 and later.
Masks will still be required in many indoor areas of the ship, but now areas designated for vaccinated guests only — such as some bars, restaurants, and the casino — will no longer ask that passengers wear a face-covering.
So, for example, if you’re walking around the Royal Promenade or going from your cabin to the dining room, then a mask is still required to be worn. However, if playing in the casino or attending a show for vaccinated guests only, then the mask can come off.
As well, masks will still be required in terminals when boarding and debarking.
Here are the updated rules on Royal Caribbean’s website:
This decision comes after the cruise line saw a sharp drop in cases on its ships among passengers.
According to Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty, the company has carried about 1.3 million passengers since restraining and only had about 2,500 positive tests among passengers. That’s a rate of under 0.2%.
“In fact, over the last seven days we have averaged only a handful of positive guest cases per cruise. With the declining cases, operational challenges are also abating, so while the variant is not done, it appears the worst is behind us,” Liberty said.
He also added that cases on ships have “returned to exceptionally low pre-Omicron levels.”
The change also follows Norwegian Cruise Line easing their rules as well. The cruise line said it will now allow kids under five years old to sail (previously 100% of passengers had to be vaccinated) and that masks will no longer be required on its ships starting March 1, 2022.