Unvaccinated Florida Cruise Guests Must Have Travel Insurance

  • Unvaccinated guests looking to cruise from Florida with Royal Caribbean must have travel insurance.
  • Two unvaccinated teenagers recently tested positive for COVID-19 aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise.
  • Cruises in Florida can’t mandate proof of the vaccine due to the state’s ban on vaccine passports. 

Cruising in Florida with Royal Caribbean just got even more expensive for unvaccinated travelers: all unvaccinated passengers 12-years-old or older must show proof of travel insurance beginning August 1, the cruise line announced on its website.

The insurance policy must have a minimum of $25,000 in medical expense coverage and $50,000 for “quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive COVID-19 test result” per person. This mandate will be enforced beginning August 1 through the end of the year, but guests who booked their cruises between March 19 and June 28 will be exempt from this new policy. 

This new policy comes a week after two unvaccinated teenagers tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the Adventure of the Seas ship. The cruise was sailing “fully vaccinated”: all of the ship’s crew and 92% of passengers were fully vaccinated. The remaining 8% were guests under 16 years old, which is the age limit for the cruise line’s vaccine mandate. 

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean’s sister brand, Celebrity Cruises, also reported two COVID-19 cases aboard the Celebrity Millennium. All crew and at least 95% of guests aboard the ship were vaccinated, and the cruise line said it would cover the expenses for the two positive cases, Nivedita Balu reported for Reuters.

Cruise lines looking to operate in Florida are barred from mandating proof of vaccination due to the state’s ban on vaccine passports. To address this, besides paying for travel insurance, unvaccinated Royal Caribbean guests will also be subject to additional fees in order to cover the COVID-19 tests that vaccinated passengers won’t need to undergo. These payments range from $136 to $178 depending on the duration of the trip.

There could be on-board restrictions as well. For example, unvaccinated guests sailing on the Freedom of the Seas from Miami in July won’t be allowed to access select areas of the ship, including some of the dining options, bars, and the casino.

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