If You're Unvaccinated, You'll Have to Pay More to Do This One Thing
Not getting the shot could end up costing you beyond a COVID infection.
There are plenty of benefits to being fully vaccinated in the U.S.—beyond being protected from COVID, that is. Fully vaccinated people are allowed to ditch their masks, gather in large crowds, and forgo social distancing. Those who haven't gotten the shot, on the other hand, may find themselves facing more restrictions, like having to quarantine when visiting Hawaii and being banned completely from several popular travel destinations. Now, unvaccinated people might be facing another complication in their vacation plans.
Royal Caribbean International released a statement on June 28, stating that any unvaccinated passengers leaving on Royal Caribbean cruises sailing from Florida ports between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31 "will be required to get medical expense and evacuation insurance that covers a positive case."
Each unvaccinated guest 12 years and older must present travel insurance with a minimum of $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage and $50,000 per person for quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive COVID test results, per the new guidelines. "The insurance policy must name the unvaccinated guest as the policy holder or beneficiary," Royal Caribbean stated.
But that's not the only extra expense these passengers have to make. According to the statement, unvaccinated passengers 12 years and older are also required to pay for third-party COVID tests on Royal Caribbean cruises, which will cost $136 per passenger on cruises sailing for six nights or less, and $178 per passenger on cruises sailing seven nights or more.
This new guideline is relegated to Florida-based cruises, because Florida is the only state where unvaccinated passengers can board and set sail on a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2021. According to CNBC, Royal Caribbean International is requiring that all guests over the age of 16 traveling from U.S. ports—except for Florida—be fully vaccinated. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed an executive order preventing business from asking customers whether or not they have been vaccinated for COVID, which prevents cruise ships from mandating proof of vaccination in the state.
"Royal Caribbean strongly recommends its passengers get fully vaccinated before their cruise, if they are eligible," the cruise line stated.
The first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to sail from Florida will leave July 2. The Freedom of the Seas cruise will limit unvaccinated passengers from certain activities and areas, and these guests will not be able to remove their masks in common areas.
"Due to Florida law, Royal Caribbean cannot ask if a passenger is vaccinated or not, so it is up to the passenger to inform the cruise line if they are vaccinated," the cruise company explained. Individuals who show proof of vaccination will receive a wristband, which will "show they are vaccinated and allow them access to vaccinated-only venues and event."