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With delta cases rising, Royal Caribbean to expand COVID-19 testing requirements

July 29, 2021
4 min read
With delta cases rising, Royal Caribbean to expand COVID-19 testing requirements
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Adults soon will need to show a negative COVID-19 test in addition to proof of a COVID-19 vaccine to get on board some Royal Caribbean ships.

With Delta cases across the U.S. on a sharp upswing, the world's largest cruise line on Thursday said all passengers over the age of 2 on sailings of five nights or longer out of U.S. ports would need to provide such a negative COVID-19 test before boarding.

The new policy will be effective for departures on Saturday and beyond and remain in effect through at least Aug. 31.

Royal Caribbean said the test must be administered no more than three days prior to sailing and proof of negative results must be shown at check-in. The test can be an antigen test or a PCR test.

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Royal Caribbean did not mention the rise in Delta cases specifically in its announcement but said in a statement to TPG that it was implementing the requirement "in an abundance of caution, and to ensure that our guests, crew and the communities we visit remain healthy."

Until now, Royal Caribbean only has been requiring unvaccinated passengers sailing out of U.S. ports to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

The requirement only has affected a small percentage of Royal Caribbean passengers as most Royal Caribbean passengers right now are vaccinated for COVID-19.

Royal Caribbean has been mandating that all passengers 16 years of age and older on sailings out of many U.S. ports show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to sail, and the age cut-off will drop to 12 on Sunday. The only exception to this is for sailings out of Florida, where Royal Caribbean has responded to a state law outlawing vaccine mandates by loosening its vaccine requirement.

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Still, even with the loosened rules in Florida, most cruisers sailing out of the state on Royal Caribbean ships are vaccinated for COVID-19 and thus have not needed to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test until now.

Royal Caribbean also has been requiring that passengers on ships sailing out of U.S. ports wear masks while in most interior areas of the vessels.

"All other testing requirements and policies are still in place," Royal Caribbean said in its statement. The new testing mandate is "an additional layer of precaution to ensure the safety of everyone onboard."

Royal Caribbean added that it would "continue to monitor public health circumstances as they evolve and make necessary adjustments to our protocols."

The added testing requirement at Royal Caribbean comes as other big vacation companies that operate in the U.S. begin adding more anti-COVID-19 measures, too. Resort giant Disney on Wednesday said it would again require visitors to wear masks while indoors and upon entering and throughout attractions at Walt Disney World in Florida, along with at Disneyland in California.

Royal Caribbean just resumed departures out of U.S. ports on July 2 with sailings out of Miami and soon is starting up sailings out of Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral, Florida, too. The line began sailings out of Seattle to Alaska on July 19 and soon will add sailings out of Galveston, Texas.

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Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees