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Royal Caribbean to require proof of vaccination on cruises from Florida

Aug. 23, 2021
3 min read
Royal Caribbean to require proof of vaccination on cruises from Florida
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Royal Caribbean cruisers ages 12 and older will now have to show proof of vaccination to sail from Florida, the line told its passengers on Friday.

Royal Caribbean, which isn't sailing with as high a percentage of vaccinated passengers as some other lines, was previously allowing travelers to opt out of showing proof on sailings from Florida, thanks to an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis to prohibit businesses from requiring vaccinations in order to render services in the Sunshine State.

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(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

Due to changing vaccine regulations in the Bahamas, which is a frequent stop for many cruise lines, Royal Caribbean's policy for voyages leaving from Florida will now be the same as its policy for those from all other U.S. embarkation ports -- proof of inoculation is required -- from Sept. 3 through at least Nov. 1, 2021.

"Travelers unable to show proof of vaccination will be unable to sail," the line said in a media statement Friday. "... Guests under 12, who are currently ineligible for the vaccine, can still cruise with us as long as they continue to provide a negative test result at boarding and follow certain health and safety protocols."

Those health and safety protocols involve Royal Caribbean's decision to prohibit unvaccinated passengers from entering certain onboard areas, such as the spa, casino, specific decks in the theater, certain dining areas and select bars and lounges. They also require unvaccinated individuals to wear masks in all indoor public areas unless eating or drinking.

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(Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Supporting the move is the fact that, earlier this month, a Florida judge issued a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit Norwegian Cruise Line filed against the state of Florida, arguing that DeSantis' executive order limited the line's ability to require vaccine proof as a way to keep passengers safe.

Likely also playing into the line's decision are the updated guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for cruisers which advise that "people who are not fully vaccinated avoid travel on cruise ships...."

The CDC's COVID-19-related operating protocols for cruise lines are now just recommendations, following the ruling in a separate lawsuit between DeSantis and the CDC. A judge said the CDC was overstepping its authority in mandating the protocols; the lines have since said they plan to continue following the agency's recommendations anyway.

Featured photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy.

Featured image by Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas docked at Perfect Day at CocoCay, the line's private island in the Bahamas (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)
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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more