RCI-Royal Caribbean takes “wait-and-see” approach on mandatory COVID vaccines for kids

   December 4, 2021 ,   Cruise Industry

While Celebrity and DCL-Disney will soon require passengers ages 5-11 to be fully vaccinated, RCI-Royal Caribbean International is taking a "wait-and-see" approach on mandatory COVID vaccines for kids.

Vicki Freed (RCI's Senior VP of sales, trade support & services) said they had not made any decisions on the vaccine requirements for children 5 to 11.

"We are still in a wait-and-see. We are evaluating it. ... But should we make a change to our protocols and require this, we will give you plenty of notice so that families can get their children vaccinated." 

Royal Caribbean currently mandates that passengers 12+ be vaccinated to sail. Kids ages 5-11 can board with a negative COVID test. After December 17, the company will start requiring unvaccinated children aged 2-11 to obtain a PCR test no more than 2 days before arrival. Additionally, unvaccinated guests between the ages of 2-11 will need to complete complimentary antigen testing dockside. Kids who only have 1 dose of an approved COVID vaccine are considered unvaccinated until 14 days after their 2nd shot.

Celebrity's new age requirement kicks in on February 1. 

DCL-Disney was the first major line to lower its vaccine mandate to age 5, on cruises departing on/after January 13, 2022. The decision of the company followed the CDC's November 2 approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for kids 5 to 11 years old.

Children between 2-4 years old will be required to provide a negative COVID test result before boarding a Disney cruise. 

MSC, which like RCI allows kids under 12 to sail with a negative test, also said that no decision had been made to lower the age requirement for COVID vaccines.