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Celebrity boarding rules change again for cruises from St Maarten - posted 05/31/2021


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Posted (edited)

Anyone who is surprised or upset by last minute changes really has no business cruising right now. I truly don't understand why this is unexpected. Things change sooooooo often anymore. Vaccinated, not vaccinated. Covid test, not covid test. PCR test, antigen test. Vaccinated or covid test. Vaccinated at 18, vaccinated at 16, vaccinated at 12.  It's constant. You are dealing with your home country, St Martin, curacao, aruba, and barbados. 5 separate entities with their own requirements that change as they see fit. Of course these cruises are going to have changes. Anyone who felt the need to be on the "first" cruises should have anticipated this. I really hope the people on later June cruises think that this is the last change... of course it's not. It's going to keep changing. International travel right now, especially as complicated as cruising is a matter of being flexible and rolling with the punches. 

 

I have a land trip to two countries planned for September/October. As of today, I need to take 4 separate covid tests. What will it be in September? No fricken clue. 

Edited by sanger727
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4 minutes ago, sanger727 said:

Anyone who is surprised or upset by last minute changes really has no business cruising right now. I truly don't understand why this is unexpected. Things change sooooooo often anymore. Vaccinated, not vaccinated. Covid test, not covid test. PCR test, antigen test. Vaccinated or covid test. Vaccinated at 18, vaccinated at 16, vaccinated at 12.  It's constant. You are dealing with your home country, St Martin, curacao, aruba, and barbados. 5 separate entities with their own requirements that change as they see fit. Of course these cruises are going to have changes. Anyone who felt the need to be on the "first" cruises should have anticipated this. I really hope the people on later June cruises think that this is the last change... of course it's not. It's going to keep changing. International travel right now, especially as complicated as cruising is a matter of being flexible and rolling with the punches. 

 

I have a land trip to two countries planned for September/October. As of today, I need to take 4 separate covid tests. What will it be in September? No fricken clue. 

 

I don't think it's the last minute changes that people are mainly upset about, but the bungled way in which Celebrity notified customers of the last minute changes.

 

Starting on May 31, their website said one thing, and emails to customers stated something else.  Then customers started getting different emails with different requirements, some stating 72-hr PCR required, others omitting this requirement.  AND absolutely no explanation of WHY the last minute change was required.  

 

If Celebrity would have explained on their website or in emails that the last minute change was required by a last minute change of Barbados, people would have been more understanding, and rolled with the punches like you said.

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1 hour ago, CalTexCruiser said:

I don't think it's the last minute changes that people are mainly upset about, but the bungled way in which Celebrity notified customers of the last minute changes.

 

Absolutely.

 

This whole episode could be put into a corporate communications textbook in the chapter labeled "What not to do".

 

My own theory -- Rather than put a nice big notice on the top of the page informing guests of a changing situation, they deliberately chose to put it on a page buried multiple levels down in the website.  Why?  IMO, because the first corporate priority is enticing people to book new cruises and inject cash into their system.  Note how everything is focused on getting you to book, with the actual nuts and bolts way underneath.

 

Is this a winning strategy?  Perhaps in the very short term.  However, the distaste left in the mouths of those who were the "early adopters" will likely come back to bite them.  Those folks on early cruises were likely some of the more enthusiastic supporters of Celebrity.  Will they be as fond of Celebrity after this fiasco?  Will they still be positive ambassadors for the brand?  Or will they now be looking elsewhere - for a company that treats them with basic respect? 

 

So, for those cruising from St Maarten, the question becomes:  Has your opinion of Celebrity as a trusted travel provider a) Gone Up, b) Stayed the same, or c) Gone Down?  Not asking for answers, but that's the bottom line, in more ways than one.

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31 minutes ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

 

So, for those cruising from St Maarten, the question becomes:  Has your opinion of Celebrity as a trusted travel provider a) Gone Up, b) Stayed the same, or c) Gone Down?  Not asking for answers, but that's the bottom line, in more ways than one.

 

It has certainly lowered my confidence in whether Celebrity can be relied upon to communicate sailing requirements to me in an accurate and timely manner.

 

As my Athens sailing gets closer, I'm going to be monitoring these Cruise Critic message boards to see if anything has changed, rather than rely on anything Celebrity tells me.

 

This is bass-ackwards.

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I agree with you FlyerTalker.  This is our first time on Celebrity being loyal NCL customers.  This has convinced me to go running back to NCL.  At least they have it together keeping customers on Covid issues, testing requirements and port changes.  Why Celebrity can't swap Bonaire for Barbados is beyond my imagination. 

 

Flame on...

 

Both Celebrity and the port countries have completely dismissed the science.   From CDC data, your chance of getting Covid after vaccination is 0.00074%.  Requiring hospitalization is 0.00056% and death from covid after vaccination is below 0.0002%. 

 

For comparison, the chance of being hit and dying from a lightning strike is 0.0006%.  There are thunderstorms at sea but the cruise industry doesn't seem to be concerned about that.  You also have about 1.00% chance of dying in an automobile accident, but we don't think twice about getting in a car.

 

Flame off...

 

Let's hope Celebrity can get it together and provide a consistent message.

 

BTW... has anyone found a place on St. Maarten that will provide the approved Covid test for Celebrity that will guarantee results within 24 hours?  That's the only way we can get on the ship as we are leaving for the Chicago airport Wednesday afternoon and staying two nights in St. Maarten before the cruise this missing the 72 hour test valid window. 

 

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3 minutes ago, imtired1959 said:

 

Flame on...

 

Both Celebrity and the port countries have completely dismissed the science.   From CDC data, your chance of getting Covid after vaccination is 0.00074%.  Requiring hospitalization is 0.00056% and death from covid after vaccination is below 0.0002%. 

 

For comparison, the chance of being hit and dying from a lightning strike is 0.0006%.  There are thunderstorms at sea but the cruise industry doesn't seem to be concerned about that.  You also have about 1.00% chance of dying in an automobile accident, but we don't think twice about getting in a car.

 

Flame off...

 

 

 

I agree with you that vaccinated people participating in all activities now are at very, very low risk of suffering bad outcomes from Covid, and that's why we feel very confident in cruising again.

 

To be fair to Celebrity regarding the 72-hr PCR test requirement, Celebrity is only instituting this requirement because of Barbados.  On the Athens sailing, only an antigen test at the pier is required to get on board. 

 

And I suspect they are requiring the antigen test because they can't be sure that the CDC vaccine cards are all authentic.

 

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2 hours ago, sanger727 said:

Anyone who is surprised or upset by last minute changes really has no business cruising right now. I truly don't understand why this is unexpected.

 

Your hot take completely misses the mark. 👎

Very few passengers are upset with with changing protocols for COVID testing.... we're annoyed at how Celebrity has completely bungled the messaging

Take, for example, the 72 hour testing requirement: Celebrity slipped this in on their website on Memorial Day, and didn't update many passengers via email! I'm on the 12 June sailing and still haven't received updated boarding requirements other than the "no test required other than for St. Maarten" email! It's just dopey behavior from a company with a communications team whose job it is to craft messaging to the public. 

 

What Celebrity should have done is send out an email detailing the new 72 hour requirement to all booked guests, and then explain why they were instituting it. If it's because Barbados has a 120 hour PCR testing requirement, just tell people! And update your guest services department! 

 

What they've repeatedly done is change guidelines surreptitiously on the website, not sent out any notifications, and then created a wave of frantic cruisers calling the guest services team only to be told "if that's what it says, that's all I know." 

 

We all know (and anticipate) that these guidelines are fluid and going to change, but clear messaging is the first step to getting any of this off the ground successfully. 

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16 minutes ago, AstoriaPreppy said:

 

Your hot take completely misses the mark. 👎

Very few passengers are upset with with changing protocols for COVID testing.... we're annoyed at how Celebrity has completely bungled the messaging

Take, for example, the 72 hour testing requirement: Celebrity slipped this in on their website on Memorial Day, and didn't update many passengers via email! I'm on the 12 June sailing and still haven't received updated boarding requirements other than the "no test required other than for St. Maarten" email! It's just dopey behavior from a company with a communications team whose job it is to craft messaging to the public. 

 

What Celebrity should have done is send out an email detailing the new 72 hour requirement to all booked guests, and then explain why they were instituting it. If it's because Barbados has a 120 hour PCR testing requirement, just tell people! And update your guest services department! 

 

What they've repeatedly done is change guidelines surreptitiously on the website, not sent out any notifications, and then created a wave of frantic cruisers calling the guest services team only to be told "if that's what it says, that's all I know." 

 

We all know (and anticipate) that these guidelines are fluid and going to change, but clear messaging is the first step to getting any of this off the ground successfully. 

 

....and yet so very many cruisers have defended Celebrity's (and other cruise lines') lack of transparency regarding what they have been doing to comply with CDC requirements, their lack of transparency in advising future cruisers of the DETAILS of their future wellness initiatives (all we got was the shiny "We are working hard to ensure you'll have a great cruise -- BOOK NOW!) and of course prior to that, when COVID struck, we were presented with evidence of the same cruise lines' lack of transparency regarding COVID status of passengers aboard ships, plans to get crew home, and more.

 

The mystery to me is why some have such short memories.

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1 hour ago, CalTexCruiser said:

 

I agree with you that vaccinated people participating in all activities now are at very, very low risk of suffering bad outcomes from Covid, and that's why we feel very confident in cruising again.

 

To be fair to Celebrity regarding the 72-hr PCR test requirement, Celebrity is only instituting this requirement because of Barbados.  On the Athens sailing, only an antigen test at the pier is required to get on board. 

 

And I suspect they are requiring the antigen test because they can't be sure that the CDC vaccine cards are all authentic.

 

As I recall, the antigen test was to be administered prior to boarding.  This was the protocol before Celebrity changed it to the 72 hr PCR test.  I made hotel and flight reservations based on this.

 

With this change, it throws my plans to near impossible if I am unable to get a PCR test in St. Maarten and results back in time to board.

 

So... what do you suggest?   

 

Hope we can get tested in St. Maarten (on our own dime) and be allowed to board with the risk of flying back home and not getting a refund for the cruise since I didn't cancel in time? 

 

Or perhaps just cancel now and at least get FCC?

 

What Celebrity should do is make arrangements for folks to get the PCR test as soon as they enter the country if they are unable to get their results in time from their home country. 

 

Another option is to cancel the port call to Barbados and call on a country that respects the science. 

 

I am being quite fair to Celebrity as they are changing the rules now at least twice a week and if you go back a few posts, they are sending conflicting emails. 

 

It is Celebrity that is not being fair to us, their customer, who has over $4500 to purchase a product from them.

 

This purchase has now become a gamble.

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12 minutes ago, imtired1959 said:

As I recall, the antigen test was to be administered prior to boarding.  This was the protocol before Celebrity changed it to the 72 hr PCR test.  I made hotel and flight reservations based on this.

 

With this change, it throws my plans to near impossible if I am unable to get a PCR test in St. Maarten and results back in time to board.

 

So... what do you suggest?   

 

Hope we can get tested in St. Maarten (on our own dime) and be allowed to board with the risk of flying back home and not getting a refund for the cruise since I didn't cancel in time? 

 

Or perhaps just cancel now and at least get FCC?

 

What Celebrity should do is make arrangements for folks to get the PCR test as soon as they enter the country if they are unable to get their results in time from their home country. 

 

Another option is to cancel the port call to Barbados and call on a country that respects the science. 

 

I am being quite fair to Celebrity as they are changing the rules now at least twice a week and if you go back a few posts, they are sending conflicting emails. 

 

It is Celebrity that is not being fair to us, their customer, who has over $4500 to purchase a product from them.

 

This purchase has now become a gamble.

You can easily get the test done in St Maarten. You can email info@healthcarelab.sx - they have a clinic in town who will send it out to them for the test. It’s $70 per person (please verify) and make a appointment. 

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The posters don’t want to hear the easy solutions for a COVID test, they just want to complain because Celebrity does not have a crystal ball to forecast testing requirements.   When you take a cruise, with COVID, you need to first check the airline requirements, then your destinations requirements and finally the cruise lines.   I don’t believe anything will be set in stone until a week or less before your cruise.   Barbados just had a huge COVID outbreak and has tightened their testing requirements.   The same thing could happen in St. Martin.   The internet is your friend.

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6 hours ago, AstoriaPreppy said:

I'm on the 12 June sailing, and we're scheduled to visit Tortola (BVI), Saint Lucia and Barbados. It appears the St Maarten travel requirements were updated yesterday, 2 June. The modified verbiage outlines the testing requirements more clearly, but one odd thing stuck out for me. From the "While Ashore" section (bolding mine): 
 

---

While visiting the Caribbean, on-your-own tours will be permitted in St. Maarten, Curacao, Aruba, and select approved on-your-own tours will be allowed in St. Kitts & Nevis. However, Celebrity Cruises curated tours will be required in Barbados and the British Virgin Islands. 
---

So it seems that Celebrity excursions will be required in both Barbados and Tortola... but no mention of Saint Lucia? I already assumed we're going to be re-routed to Barbados first (like the 5 June sailing) to meet their testing requirements. Now, I'm not sure if mentioning St Kitts is a Celebrity typo (very possible), or if we're being sent to a new port in lieu of Saint Lucia? 

Got the email this afternoon that my July 24 sailing has St. Kitts swapped for St. Lucia and ports reordered, in addition to change in ships.

Screenshot_20210603-144722_Yahoo Mail.jpg

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In St. Maarten now. Everything was super easy. Have your covid test printed out and EHAS approval form in hand along with passport. 
Breezed right thru. A lot of people were holding up the line because they didn’t have the print outs. Our hotel required the stamped copies of both covid test, EHAS, and our Covid insurance. (Required if you’re staying overnight).  Did a covid test at CVS Sunday for St Maarten for $0. 
Did a last minute covid test at Walgreens and CVS yesterday for $0 for celebrity. Did two for a back up. Just got the negative  results and the front desk is printing off for me. It’s really be a lot easier than I thought. 
 

Looking forward to a great cruise and meeting new friends. I’ll be the one drinking Chardonnay. 😊

Angie 

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2 hours ago, Borntocruise22 said:

You can easily get the test done in St Maarten. You can email info@healthcarelab.sx - they have a clinic in town who will send it out to them for the test. It’s $70 per person (please verify) and make a appointment. 

Thank you Borntocruise22.

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2 hours ago, Covepointcruiser said:

The posters don’t want to hear the easy solutions for a COVID test, they just want to complain because Celebrity does not have a crystal ball to forecast testing requirements.   When you take a cruise, with COVID, you need to first check the airline requirements, then your destinations requirements and finally the cruise lines.   I don’t believe anything will be set in stone until a week or less before your cruise.   Barbados just had a huge COVID outbreak and has tightened their testing requirements.   The same thing could happen in St. Martin.   The internet is your friend.

Actually, I am looking for solutions.  I wanted to indicate why I am in such a dilemma to begin with and how Celebrity placed me in this predicament by elimination of the antigen test at the the terminal.

 

Unlike some... Borntocruise22 provided me with the information I need.  Hopefully we will get our results back in time. 

 

As I stated, this is $4500 that I spent and do not wish to lose.

 

Maybe to others... this isn’t a lot of money.

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, imtired1959 said:

Thank you Borntocruise22.

There is a lab downtown who sends the results to the above lab. They just sent me this information-

 

Simpson Bay Medical Clinic is conveniently located at the Simpson Bay Yacht club (Lago del Plaza), just behind the Simpson Bay Pharmacy in walking distance from the main hotels and marinas. 


COVID TESTING INFORMATION

 

TESTING HOURS

MONDAYS - FRIDAYS 9AM-11.30AM

SATURDAYS- 9AM-10:30AM

 

PRICES

1• PCR- $50 SEPERATE LAB FEE $70 (24-48 HOURS WAIT FOR RESULTS)
2• ANTIGEN (RAPID) TESTING $100   (1-2 HOURS WAIT FOR RESULTS)

CASH ONLY!

WALK-INS ONLY/ NO APPOINTMENTS

PLEASE WALK WITH ANY FORM OF IDENTIFICATION: PASSPORT/DRIVER'S LICENSE

Edited by Borntocruise22
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26 minutes ago, Borntocruise22 said:

There is a lab downtown who sends the results to the above lab. They just sent me this information-

 

Simpson Bay Medical Clinic is conveniently located at the Simpson Bay Yacht club (Lago del Plaza), just behind the Simpson Bay Pharmacy in walking distance from the main hotels and marinas. 


COVID TESTING INFORMATION

 

TESTING HOURS

MONDAYS - FRIDAYS 9AM-11.30AM

SATURDAYS- 9AM-10:30AM

 

PRICES

1• PCR- $50 SEPERATE LAB FEE $70 (24-48 HOURS WAIT FOR RESULTS)
2• ANTIGEN (RAPID) TESTING $100   (1-2 HOURS WAIT FOR RESULTS)

CASH ONLY!

WALK-INS ONLY/ NO APPOINTMENTS

PLEASE WALK WITH ANY FORM OF IDENTIFICATION: PASSPORT/DRIVER'S LICENSE

Nice to see a person who does their own homework rather than blame blame, complain complain.  Good on you!!

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18 minutes ago, LGW59 said:

Nice to see a person who does their own homework rather than blame blame, complain complain.  Good on you!!

 

Not complaining about the testing requirements.  Complaining about the terrible corporate communications regarding the requirements.

 

And FWIW, I still have not received any info on testing for my cruise, though I got another round of offers for casino and other packages.  So it's not like they don't a) know I'm cruising and b) have a correct email address.

 

The corporate communications staff should be very glad I'm not the CEO, or the VP over them - because they would all be out of a job tomorrow.

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Hopefully Lisa Lutoff and our $12 million a year man, Richard Fain will decamp from Dodge Island, Miami, and make the trip to St Martin to enjoy the fun & frivolity of check in/boarding and wish us Bon Voyage. But I expect the chiefs in Miami will stay home and let the companies, "little people," deal with the client passengers.

I hope I'm wrong. Real leaders, lead from the front.

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14 minutes ago, Bill Miller said:

Hopefully Lisa Lutoff and our $12 million a year man, Richard Fain will decamp from Dodge Island, Miami, and make the trip to St Martin to enjoy the fun & frivolity of check in/boarding and wish us Bon Voyage. But I expect the chiefs in Miami will stay home and let the companies, "little people," deal with the client passengers.

I hope I'm wrong. Real leaders, lead from the front.

I think they are smarter than the early cruisers, and will stay home.  I would not take the initial cruise even if Celebrity paid me to do so.  

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I hope you all enjoy your voyage so much!! Last minute changes can be so frustrating!!! You all are making it possible for the rest of us to be more prepared to enjoy the experience so I am praying for your safe and happy travels! I remain grateful that you share your lessons learned-Bon Voyage!!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Borntocruise22 said:

There is a lab downtown who sends the results to the above lab. They just sent me this information-

 

Simpson Bay Medical Clinic is conveniently located at the Simpson Bay Yacht club (Lago del Plaza), just behind the Simpson Bay Pharmacy in walking distance from the main hotels and marinas. 


COVID TESTING INFORMATION

 

TESTING HOURS

MONDAYS - FRIDAYS 9AM-11.30AM

SATURDAYS- 9AM-10:30AM

 

PRICES

1• PCR- $50 SEPERATE LAB FEE $70 (24-48 HOURS WAIT FOR RESULTS)
2• ANTIGEN (RAPID) TESTING $100   (1-2 HOURS WAIT FOR RESULTS)

CASH ONLY!

WALK-INS ONLY/ NO APPOINTMENTS

PLEASE WALK WITH ANY FORM OF IDENTIFICATION: PASSPORT/DRIVER'S LICENSE

 

Fantastic Borntocruise!  We get in Thursday after 1PM. So Friday morning will be cutting it close to get the results by Saturday's boarding.

Edited by imtired1959
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16 minutes ago, Huesmanj01 said:

I hope you all enjoy your voyage so much!! Last minute changes can be so frustrating!!! You all are making it possible for the rest of us to be more prepared to enjoy the experience so I am praying for your safe and happy travels! I remain grateful that you share your lessons learned-Bon Voyage!!

 

Lovely post, and I agree with every word.  Thank you to those who are being the guinea pigs!

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Folks, there has been a change in the covid testing policy (again).  June 2nd update states:

 

Celebrity Boarding Requirements:

  • Celebrity Cruises requires all guests age 16 and above to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to sail date. As of August 1, 2021, all guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. Proof of vaccination is required in the form of the original vaccination card. No photocopies or photos accepted.
  • All guests ages 2 and up must present a negative RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival to St. Maarten. This requirement differs from St Maarten entry requirements which are 120 hours prior to departure. Name on test results must match those on government issued identification. 
  • Unvaccinated children between the ages of 2-15 who are not vaccinated must complete an RT-PCR at the terminal prior to boarding. 

Guests that do not meet our requirements may be denied boarding.

 

Things are looking doable again.  At least now, we can get the test to enter ST. Maarten at the 72 hour mark and still be able to board the ship.

 

Note to LWG59: Nice of you to compliment Borntocruise. 

 

There are also some of us that you are mistaking for complaining rather than the intent of calling to attention.  Do you not believe that there are those who have been contacting Celebrity directly and getting a multiplicity of answers? 

 

The idea of these roll calls is to pass information to others as soon as we find it.  I will not apologize for asking questions, passing information, sharing issues in the hope of getting suggestions and not criticism.

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25 minutes ago, imtired1959 said:

 

Fantastic Borntocruise!  We get in Thursday after 1PM. So Friday morning will be cutting it close to get the results by Saturday's boarding.

We get in Thursday at 2:30pm. We are going to drive (we got a car) to the first testing site if they are open Thursday afternoon and get the test. I just emailed them. I can let you know when I hear. 

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