The Royal Caribbean cruise line said on Monday that passengers above age 12 that start their trip in Florida will be required to show that they have insurance that covers COVID-19-related issues.
“Effective June 29, 2021, unvaccinated guests 12 and older departing on a Royal Caribbean International cruise from Florida are required to purchase travel insurance,” a statement sent to The Epoch Times by the Royal Caribbean reads. “The insurance must cover medical, travel and other related costs for COVID-19 should they test positive while on board.”
“Guests may purchase travel insurance from a company of their choosing with a minimum of $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage and $50,000 per person in travel expenses or Royal Caribbean’s Travel Protection Program package, which includes the required coverage. Proof of travel insurance is a condition of boarding and must be shown at check-in.”
The specifications will be effective from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021.
The announcement comes after two teenagers cruising on the company’s Adventure of the Seas tested positive last week, and two other passengers of the Celebrity Millennium got the virus earlier this month.
Odyssey Of The Seas, a new ship, rescheduled its sailings after some of its crew tested positive.
Vaccine passports or mandatory proof of vaccination from businesses was made illegal by Gov. DeSantis’ executive order (pdf), which states that “businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination.”
DeSantis’ office told The Epoch Times that since the company is saying that vaccines are “strongly recommended” rather than required, the policy doesn’t violate the vaccine passport ban.
“This is not a violation of SB 2006, Florida’s vaccine passport ban. The law prohibits businesses from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of entry or service,” DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw told the Epoch Times. “Businesses are allowed to ask, but customers/passengers have the right to medical privacy, so they can refuse to answer (or they can say they aren’t vaccinated).”
Royal Caribbean Group restarted sailing from U.S. ports and has a slew of trips planned after more than a year of anchoring ships.
Recently, the cruise line said unvaccinated passengers will have to pay testing fees and be subject to various restrictions for sailings departing from Miami.
The company said in a statement that passengers will be asked for their vaccination documentation at check-in, and anyone age 2 and above who is unvaccinated will be required to go through “multiple COVID-19 tests,” which would be priced at $136 per person. Testing for guests between the ages of 2 and 15 will be complimentary.
“We strongly recommend all guests 16 and older be fully vaccinated. To be considered fully vaccinated, the final dose of the vaccine must be completed at least 14 days before sailing,” the statement reads. “Those who are 16 and older and do not have or are unable to provide documentation will be considered unvaccinated.”
Passengers can provide a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccination Record Card as an example of vaccination proof.
Celebrity Cruises announced last week it will drop a requirement for passengers to show proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 for trips departing Florida.
Jack Phillips and Reuters contributed to this report.