03/25/2021 / By Cassie B.
Royal Caribbean has announced that it will begin cruising to the Bahamas and Mexico this June, but passengers who wish to sail the high seas will be required to present proof of vaccination for COVID-19 before boarding. This will effectively ban health-conscious individuals who are unwilling to get questionable vaccines from sailing.
In a statement, the cruise operator announced that passengers can start booking cruises on Adventure of the Seas on March 24 for sailings that will begin on June 12 from the ship’s new home port in Nassau, the Bahamas.
For the new itineraries, which will be departing through August, all adult passengers must be vaccinated, while those under the age of 18 will be required to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test result within 72 hours of boarding. The ship’s crew members are fully vaccinated, according to the cruise line.
The president and CEO of Royal Caribbean, Michael Bayley, said: “The vaccines are clearly a game-changer for all of us, and with the number of vaccinations and their impact growing rapidly, we believe starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice.”
However, he conceded that the requirements may change in the future, adding: “As we move forward, we expect this requirement and other measures will inevitably evolve over time.”
Guests will also be required to adhere to the travel requirements of the Bahamas, which include presenting a negative PCR test prior to traveling and testing again after arriving.
The move is being met with resistance, with calls on social media for the cruise line to be boycotted on account of the new requirement.
On Twitter, the founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, Dr. Simone Gold, tweeted: “WOW: @RoyalCaribbean cruises is now requiring you to get an experimental vaccine to book a cruise with them. I will be boycotting the company instead. Who else is with me? #BoycottRC.”
The tweet attracted more than 8,300 likes and 2,600 retweets. Similar posts can be found across social media, along with many users vowing to boycott all companies and venues that require people to get this largely untested vaccine before doing business with them.
Like many businesses, the cruise industry came to a grinding halt last year in the midst of the pandemic. A “no sail” order was issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 14, 2020 because of the possibility of cruise ship travel introducing and spreading the illness.
Cruise outbreaks were behind at least 111 crew and passenger deaths and had an impact on 87 ships, according to an investigation by the Miami Herald.
Right now, a level 4 warning is in place against cruise travel by the CDC. The agency recommends that everyone avoid traveling on cruise ships, including river cruises, throughout the world because of the high risk of COVID-19.
Last week, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava sent a letter asking the CDC to allow cruising to return in the U.S. by July 4. The port of Miami is currently working on setting up a permanent COVID-19 testing lab.
It comes as no surprise to see companies putting these vaccine mandates in place, although it is disappointing and sets a scary precedent. What other vaccines will people need to travel in the future?
And even if you are willing to accept that cruise lines do not mind losing the business of the many Americans who will not be getting the vaccine, the requirement makes little sense when you consider the fact that none of the currently available vaccines are fully effective, nor do they prevent people from carrying and transmitting the virus.
In addition, children – who will not be vaccinated – might present negative test results when they arrive, but they could easily pick up the virus while visiting ports and pass it around to others (or from fellow vaccinated passengers who may shed the virus). There’s a chance that at least some vaccinated adults on the ship could get sick since the shots do not offer 100 percent protection. In other words, this approach isn’t nearly as foolproof as these cruise lines want passengers to believe.
Sources for this article include:
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