Vaccines are among the safest and most effective ways of preventing infectious diseases. But when you know so much about the various ways of distributing vaccines, as Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Baylay did at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual summit in Singapore, you worry that you might be able to get the wrong vaccination.

The cruise industry is full of intrigue and controversy, especially when it comes to their employees — who, for the most part, aren’t being paid enough to get their own medical bills paid. One of the most hotly debated topics is the vaccines that they, the employees, must receive.

Viral videos have apparently taken over as the preferred method of teaching people about vaccines. In the past week, I’ve seen two videos, one posted by a celebrity chef and the other by a TV news reporter, that propagated claims that the flu shot causes autism and can kill you. Both were so misleading (or deceptive) that I had to Google their claims to be sure they weren’t jokes. This is not the kind of information people should be receiving without full disclosure, and the Royal Caribbean cruise line was kind enough to publish an article on the issue, clearing up some of the confusion.

Royal Caribbean has received its share of criticism regarding its vaccination requirements, wearing of masks, and other issues related to COVID-19 on board. So much so that President and CEO Michael Bailey wrote a memo to clarify the situation.

Bailey said he and the cruise line have received many messages, some harsh, some frightening, from people about the policy changes the airline has recently made. This prompted him to make the rules and regulations understandable to everyone.

To be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated

It must be said that Royal Caribbean is making things difficult for itself and for customers who want to book a trip on board. While all crew members on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships are required to be vaccinated, the situation is slightly different for guests.

Vaccination is mandatory for some vessels, while other vessels, particularly those departing from Florida, are not required to be vaccinated. Royal Caribbean has always been in favor of cruises with vaccinated guests; however, the state of Florida has made it illegal for companies to require vaccinations.

To show how difficult the situation has become, the cruise line currently has the following policy:

Vaccination is required for cruisers from the United States, but outside of Florida. Vaccination is strongly recommended for cruise ships departing from Florida. Vaccination is mandatory for cruises departing from international ports, except for cruises departing from Singapore, where vaccination is not mandatory. Further, Michael Bailey stated the following about the current policy:

I read many different stories about our vaccination policy and decided to clarify the current policy. This is a difficult task as we must navigate our way through the various laws and regulations that vary from state to state, country to country, and region to region. One thing is certain: whatever policy looks like today, it will evolve and change.

Cruises with compulsory vaccination

Vaccination is mandatory for the following cruises:

All participants in these trips must be 100% vaccinated 14 days prior to departure. Children under 16 receive a discount until the age of one. August and require a negative PCR test result. After August 1, all children eligible for vaccination must be vaccinated, i.e. from the age of 12.  Children must be tested and follow medical protocols. There is no additional cost for the children’s test.

Cruises without compulsory vaccination

It is highly recommended that all passengers traveling from Florida on Freedom of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas be fully vaccinated. The cruise line expects about 90 percent of vaccinated guests to make the trip.

Clients who wish to travel but do not wish to disclose whether or not they have been vaccinated will have to undergo additional testing and medical protocols on board. This is at their own expense.

Another ship is sailing out; the Quantum of the Seas has been in Singapore since last December. This vessel operates in accordance with the Royal Government of Singapore health protocols and guidelines. Thanks to strict testing protocols, guests do not need to be vaccinated. To date, more than 75,000 guests have successfully sailed aboard the Quantum.

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