Royal Caribbean tightens cruise mask policy as COVID-19 cases climb in US

Dec 18, 2021

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In response to the increase in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant, Royal Caribbean has tightened its onboard mask policies. The line will now require all passengers to wear masks in all indoor public areas unless eating or drinking.

That includes fully vaccinated cruisers, even when they’re visiting onboard areas designated as vaccinated-only.

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(Screenshot courtesy Royal Caribbean)
(Screenshot courtesy Royal Caribbean)

Previously, certain areas of Royal Caribbean’s ships — such as the spas, teppanyaki restaurants, lower levels of the theaters, and specific bars and lounges — were reserved for those who had received the full course of shots. When frequenting those locations, passengers were able to remove their masks.

Although wording on the line’s website indicates separate areas for vaccinated passengers will remain, cruisers in those areas will have to keep their masks on, at least on sailings departing through Jan. 5, 2022, at which time the policy will be revisited.

“We feel it prudent to temporarily tighten our onboard health protocols,” the line said in a statement sent to booked passengers. “We’re sorry for any disappointment that this may cause, but hope you understand that health and safety come first.”

Featured image of a sign on the Freedom of the Seas reminding passengers to mask up by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy.

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