Royal Caribbean International, the world’s largest cruise line, has expanded its testing requirement to all U.S. departures in an effort to improve passenger safety and security.

Royal Caribbean announced that they are expanding their testing requirement to all U.S. departures. The company is making the change due to recent incidents of passengers being denied boarding because of a lack of required documentation during pre-flight check-in. Read more in detail here: royal caribbean announcement today.

A week after declaring that all passengers on cruises five nights or longer departing from a U.S. port must have a negative COVID test, Royal Caribbean has extended the rule to include voyages of any duration.

All passengers departing from a U.S. port on a Royal Caribbean ship, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to arrive with a negative COVID test result beginning August 12 and lasting at least through August 31. Three- and four-night cruises, as well as lengthier trips, are subject to the new rule.

Guests are responsible for the cost of the pre-arrival test. On arrival, the results may be printed or displayed digitally.

In the United States, the Delta form of the COVID-19 virus is on the rise, with 100,000 new cases each day on average during the last week.

“We regret the inconvenience; but, given the recent rise in the Delta variant in local communities, it is a prudent extra procedure to minimize the danger of COVID-19 spreading,” Royal Caribbean stated in a message to travel advisers.

“Regardless of vaccination status, every passenger aged 2 and above must now submit a negative PCR or antigen test result obtained no more than 3 days before to their voyage. This goes above and beyond the testing standards for our unvaccinated visitors, adding an additional layer of protection for all guests and crew.”

For passengers who refuse to comply with the new rule, Royal Caribbean provides the following options:

“If you do not want to follow these procedures, we will gladly refund your money or reschedule your voyage at a later date when conditions may have changed.”

Similar policies have been announced this week by Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, and Princess Cruises. These lines have also updated mask policies, including “strongly encouraging” all passengers to wear them indoors. Masks will be required in areas including elevators, indoor entertainment areas, shops, and in the casino, except when eating or drinking. Masks will also be required in restaurants prior to being seated.

While rigorous health procedures and safeguards are not popular with all passengers, there is increasing evidence that they are effective to keep people safe as cruise companies seek a cautious and safe return to operation.

Six passengers aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Adventure of the Seas, which sailed from Nassau on July 29, tested positive for COVID during regular testing required of all passengers before returning home. Four of the visitors were completely vaccinated, while the other two were youngsters who had not been vaccinated. Except for one who had minor symptoms, they were all asymptomatic.

In a Facebook post, Royal Caribbean International president Michael Bayley said, “They were all promptly quarantined, and all close connections were tracked and all tested negative.”

“Every single one of the other 1,000 or so visitors tested negative. Today, each guest and their immediate travel groups disembarked and took private transportation home. The good news is that everyone is safe and well at home.”

Royal Caribbean has expanded their testing requirement to all U.S. departures. This is a change from the previous policy which required tests only on select cruises.

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