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.

Odyssey Of The Seas cruise ship

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.

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