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Royal reverses policy on proof of vaccination. Will Celebrity follow suit?


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1 minute ago, thethreeofus said:

Absolutely correct. Florida Governor has said he will fine the cruise lines $5000 per passenger if they ask about vaccination status.  He said it is prejudicial to those in his state who chose not to be vaccinated.

They may try to impose fines, but they almost certainly won't be successful once challenged in court. The only question is whether or not cruise lines, which are so dependent on sailing from Florida, will be willing to go up against them in court.

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1 minute ago, Sykes said:

They may try to impose fines, but they almost certainly won't be successful once challenged in court. The only question is whether or not cruise lines, which are so dependent on sailing from Florida, will be willing to go up against them in court.

Or willing to change departure ports if the summer Caribbean departures are successful

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1 minute ago, Sykes said:

 The only question is whether or not cruise lines, which are so dependent on sailing from Florida, will be willing to go up against them in court.

I think so for Celebrity. I think they withdrew RCL requiring the vaccinations because the legal backing is more shaky (they're approved by CDC for test cruises, thus not fully-vaccinated cruises). 

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28 minutes ago, thethreeofus said:

Absolutely correct. Florida Governor has said he will fine the cruise lines $5000 per passenger if they ask about vaccination status.  He said it is prejudicial to those in his state who chose not to be vaccinated.

Won't stand.  He should probably take some law school refresher courses.

 

This has nothing to do with prejudices because of gender, race, color or creed.

 

Plus, no one is saying someone can't sail.  What they are saying is it's a health question just like those they ask when making sure no one can board if they have any sort of malady which could infect others (think nonovirus).

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17 hours ago, TMLAalum said:

So make proof of vaccination voluntary for cruises out of FL. But if you chose not to show that you are vaccinated then make Covid testing mandatory with a negative test required to sail. 
 

Agree.  We just returned from Maui. Had to Covid test 72 hours prior to flight, and again the minute our feet touched the ground in Maui. No, CDC doesn’t require, or even recommend this, but the State of Hawaii does.  Doesn’t matter if you are vaccinated or not, everyone entering the state must test.  Didn’t seem to slow the tourists, the islands are full speed ahead reopening.  There is no reason cruise lines couldn’t require the same testing. 

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2 minutes ago, thethreeofus said:

Agree.  We just returned from Maui. Had to Covid test 72 hours prior to flight, and again the minute our feet touched the ground in Maui. No, CDC doesn’t require, or even recommend this, but the State of Hawaii does.  Doesn’t matter if you are vaccinated or not, everyone entering the state must test.  Didn’t seem to slow the tourists, the islands are full speed ahead reopening.  There is no reason cruise lines couldn’t require the same testing. 

This is such a tired argument on this thread--some cruise lines are doing this. They are approved by the CDC to do simulated test cruises, then they will sail with non-vaccinated passengers under more restriction like mask-wearing and testing to board. Celebrity has chosen to not go this option and instead CHOOSE to go the fully vaccinated route in order to ensure an almost normal sailing. 

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all this crying of "but it's discrimination" honestly amuses me.  Want to travel to a county that requires proof of Yellow Fever vaccination?  You're not going to do it without one...

 

Want to travel to Italy as a U.S. citizen?  You can't without a passport.  

 

Want to skip the long lines when returning to U.S.? Want to skip TSA lines?  Then you set up an interview for global entry

 

People who chose not to do these things make a lifestyle choice for themselves.  The vaccine is another choice, but in this case you can affect thousands of others with your choice.  

 

Would love to see Celebrity call DS bluff & pull from FL 

 

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8 minutes ago, cruise kitty said:

all this crying of "but it's discrimination" honestly amuses me.  Want to travel to a county that requires proof of Yellow Fever vaccination?  You're not going to do it without one...

 

Want to travel to Italy as a U.S. citizen?  You can't without a passport.  

 

Want to skip the long lines when returning to U.S.? Want to skip TSA lines?  Then you set up an interview for global entry

 

People who chose not to do these things make a lifestyle choice for themselves.  The vaccine is another choice, but in this case you can affect thousands of others with your choice.  

 

Would love to see Celebrity call DS bluff & pull from FL 

 

AMEN!  

 

I believe they will just ignore Desantis, like they're doing now, and doing what's best for their passengers and requiring COVID Vaccinations.  I'm sure their intents are not totally altruistic.  Somewhere they have a spread sheet showing the numbers of passengers who would sail if COVID Vaccines are required vs those who won't.

 

The numbers I've seen overwhelmingly favor sailing with COVID Vaccine requirements.  I'm sure that had a major influence on their decision, too.

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1 hour ago, graphicguy said:

AMEN!  

 

I believe they will just ignore Desantis, like they're doing now, and doing what's best for their passengers and requiring COVID Vaccinations.  I'm sure their intents are not totally altruistic.  Somewhere they have a spread sheet showing the numbers of passengers who would sail if COVID Vaccines are required vs those who won't.

 

The numbers I've seen overwhelmingly favor sailing with COVID Vaccine requirements.  I'm sure that had a major influence on their decision, too.

We booked  not only because we love Celebrity, but feel safer knowing 95% of the passengers would be fully vaccinated.  I really hope they will keep this protocol.  

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In this video from Richard Fain, it sounds like Celebrity is keeping the vaccination requirement at at least 95 percent, and that Royal Caribbean is looking into ways to make it cost-prohibitive for unvaccinated adults to cruise (ie. having to pay for the expense of testing, etc.). 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I just saw that about incurring additional cost for anyone not vaccinated on the Royal side. Good news on the Celebrity side. Will be interesting how they are getting around DeSantis. 

On a side note I heard the Judge is making a ruling in the case against the CDC on June 10th.

 

Edited by bajathree
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When the pandemic hit, my husband and I both said we would never cruise again. (We've only been on a few, but enjoyed them all) Fast forward a year and we are fully vaccinated, and very encouraged by Celebrity offering fully vaxxed cruises. Honestly knowing that all crew and passengers are vaccinated is the only way I would cruise again. Like so many people, we're desperate to relax and see the ocean again, so are looking at two cruises (one with just us, the next with our older kids, also fully vaccinated) for this summer! Thank goodness for science and medicine!

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37 minutes ago, keels81 said:

In this video from Richard Fain, it sounds like Celebrity is keeping the vaccination requirement at at least 95 percent, and that Royal Caribbean is looking into ways to make it cost-prohibitive for unvaccinated adults to cruise (ie. having to pay for the expense of testing, etc.)

 

 

 

Interesting approach...make non-vaccinated cruisers pay for tests.

 

One easy way to make it cost-prohibitive for them is to require daily Covid tests at $ 100 per person (12 and older)...that'll put the kibosh on the issue.  

 

To skip the daily tests, show your vaccination card at check-in.

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1 minute ago, CalTexCruiser said:

 

Interesting approach...make non-vaccinated cruisers pay for tests.

 

One easy way to make it cost-prohibitive for them is to require daily Covid tests at $ 100 per person (12 and older)...that'll put the kibosh on the issue.  

 

To skip the daily tests, show your vaccination card at check-in.

That definitely sounds in line with what he's thinking ... unvaccinated passenger is required for the cost of testing, maybe even contact tracing like those spendy bracelets that the NBA players had to use in the bubble at Disney. Those things weren't cheap at all.

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And if "capacity control" is required on the day of sailing to meet the 95% vaccination rule, guess who'll be first in line to be "capacity controlled" off the ship.

 

Of course, Royal/Celebrity will pay for one-night hotel while the "capacity-controlled" guests make their own arrangements to go home.

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1 minute ago, wrk2cruise said:

This wouldn't apply to the 95% cruises, only RCL sailings with no such requirement as they are doing simulated sailings before doing revenue sailings.

 

 

I'm not so sure about that...it sure sounds like he is trying to find a way to meet the 95% rule for Celebrity sailings while still satisfying the "no vaccine passport" Florida law.

 

I think making it cost prohibitive for unvaccinated cruisers would discourage them from booking Celebrity, while he can still say he is not requiring vaccination documentation, just that passengers can choose to show their vaccination cards to avoid paying for tests.

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4 minutes ago, CalTexCruiser said:

 

I'm not so sure about that...it sure sounds like he is trying to find a way to meet the 95% rule for Celebrity sailings while still satisfying the "no vaccine passport" Florida law.

 

I think making it cost prohibitive for unvaccinated cruisers would discourage them from booking Celebrity, while he can still say he is not requiring vaccination documentation, just that passengers can choose to show their vaccination cards to avoid paying for tests.

 

For comparison, daily testing in the NBA bubble at Disney essentially cost $100-125/per person per day, plus those Oura tracking rings that everyone had to wear start at $299 each. So right there, it's over $1k per person on a 7-day cruise to not show proof of vaccination, and who wants to have their brain scratched every morning of their vacation?

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I had to watch this 3 times. Keeping in line with the previous Celebrity/Silversea differentiation from Royal, it sounds like even different Royal ships may carry different guidelines. 

 

If you're approved under the Restricted Vaccinated guidance, you can't just switch back to <95% vaccinated without stepping back and doing a test cruise so it's a big commitment up front. Curious to see what (if anything) Celebrity reveals tomorrow. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Jeremiah1212 said:

I had to watch this 3 times. Keeping in line with the previous Celebrity/Silversea differentiation from Royal, it sounds like even different Royal ships may carry different guidelines. 

 

If you're approved under the Restricted Vaccinated guidance, you can't just switch back to <95% vaccinated without stepping back and doing a test cruise so it's a big commitment up front. Curious to see what (if anything) Celebrity reveals tomorrow. 

 

 

I'm thinking exactly what you're thinking ... and him mentioning different itineraries may have different requirements kind of harkens back to what Donna mentioned a few weeks ago about Celebrity being able to "inventory manage" that percentage to make sure that there was availability for families with children unable to be vaccinated still being afforded the opportunity to cruise.

 

Like, for example, I think the possibilities of transatlantic, Panama Canal and some longer itineraries might not have as many under-12s as the Bahamas getaways, Caribbean trips and Alaska.

 

With Edge supposedly sailing in 19 days, I would expect Donna to have the WebEx tomorrow and at least provide details on how that's going to go down. We'll see!

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Come Nov the CSO expires and I don't think any of these vaccine mandates are going to matter. Thats not far away...so if you really want to sail vaccine only you may want to sail sooner than latter.

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Just now, bajathree said:

Come Nov the CSO expires and I don't think any of these vaccine mandates are going to matter. Thats not far away...so if you really want to sail vaccine only you may want to sail sooner than latter.

 

I'd lean towards agreeing with you there. I can't see this lasting long. We don't cruise again until February and barring anything catastrophic happening, I don't foresee it being required by then. Cruise lines hate regulation and the quicker they can get out from under this, they will. But I haven't see a thing pointing to what the long term COVID oversight may be. 

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4 minutes ago, bajathree said:

Come Nov the CSO expires and I don't think any of these vaccine mandates are going to matter. Thats not far away...so if you really want to sail vaccine only you may want to sail sooner than latter.

 

1 minute ago, Jeremiah1212 said:

 

I'd lean towards agreeing with you there. I can't see this lasting long. We don't cruise again until February and barring anything catastrophic happening, I don't foresee it being required by then. Cruise lines hate regulation and the quicker they can get out from under this, they will. But I haven't see a thing pointing to what the long term COVID oversight may be. 

 

Dr Gottlieb (former FDA commissioner) said on CNBC that booster shots may be required in the fall, because he fears that cases may go up again after the summer.

 

I think he's been the voice of reason throughout the pandemic when others have either been too cautious (Fauci) or too dismissive (the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers).

 

So for those of us with sailings in early 2022, the CSO may be extended well into 2022 if COVID cases start going up again when the weather cools again.

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Posted (edited)

The transcript is you really want to dissect his words (which even he advises against doing!)

............................

 

Hello again travel partners! We here at the Royal Caribbean Group hope you’re all having a great start to summer especially as cruising is beginning to resume in earnest. In response to questions from some of you, my wife is still acting as my cameraperson, but I expect I’ll soon be back in the office with professional help. Actually, I’m not eager to give this up. I’ve enjoyed doing these videos with her and I will miss her “constructive” criticism.

 

Management guru Tom Peters once said, “if you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.” Well, I’m paying attention and I’m confused as hell. Overall, of course I’m a very happy camper because our healthy return to service is well underway and that’s very exciting. But I’m still confused about the details involved in getting us there. Let me try and explain my view of the current state of play, knowing that it’s all going to change tomorrow.

 

The key to everything is the vaccines. They are proving to be the game changer that we all hoped for. Fortunately, our country is in a strong leadership position regarding vaccines. The US was in the forefront of developing the vaccines and the US is in the forefront of delivering them. Already almost 2/3rds of adults have gotten them, and that number is climbing. America is leading the world in this regard and when I talk to people in Europe and Asia, they look at us with envy.

 

As more and more of the country gets vaccinated, the role of the vaccine is beginning to morph. Initially when the number of vaccinated was small, the vaccines mainly protected the person taking the vaccine. That’s still true that vaccines protect each of us individually. But today as we get vaccinated, we’re not only helping ourselves, we're helping the people around us. In order to reopen society, we need large numbers of people to be vaccinated. Even if we don’t feel that we need the protection for ourselves, we should still do it to help our friends and neighbors. It’s a bit like litter. If I drop a piece of litter on the ground, it makes an insignificant impact on the environment. But if a lot of people drop litter, the cumulative impact is enormous. The same thing’s true of vaccines. Getting one today not only protects you from the virus, it protects the whole society and allows us to get back to normalcy.

 

Which brings us to the question of vaccines on board our ships. We believe vaccines can help make our cruise ships not only as safe as land-based activities but even safer. That's because we control the environment in a way that few on land can even dream of.

 

If I go into a store on land or go to a theme park or attend an event the ability of the operator to vet who enters is limited. They can't do extensive screening for something that’s only going to last for a few hours. All they can do is implement protocols to limit interaction once the people are there. But such protocols are more intrusive and less effective than preventing the introduction of the virus in the first place.

 

On the other hand, cruise guests will be on for days and days and we can therefore enact extensive requirements before people board designed to prevent the virus from coming on board in the first place. In effect we can establish processes designed to prevent COVID from entering the ship, creating a sort of bubble. That bubble not only gives greater protection than available almost anywhere, but it also means that we don’t have to have such extensive operating protocols. The result is not only a safer cruise but a better and more enjoyable one.

 

So, as I said before we intend to vaccinate all our crew members. 100%. In fact, we’ve already given vaccines to 16,465 seafarers. Clearly, we’re not messing around.

 

On top of that, we want all of our guests to be vaccinated as well. We want that because we believe it makes us all safer. And we want that because our guests want that. In our surveys the vast majority have either already received a vaccination or are about to do so. Ideally everyone on board would be vaccinated.

 

But in practice there have to be some exceptions. The main exception will be children under 12 who cannot get a vaccine today. But children tend to spend time in the family unit and studies have shown that children are a lesser source of infection than adults. Soon children as young as five years old will be eligible. That will result in even fewer exceptions.

 

Now this raises the issue of the Florida law which prohibits business in Florida from requiring proof of vaccination for services within the state. This unique law only applies within Florida. While we obviously have to comply with the law of the land, we do not believe that we will have significant numbers of unvaccinated for several reasons. Remember, the vast bulk of our guests want vaccinations and, in most cases, already have them.

 

In addition, due to the health and legal requirements of many jurisdictions, those who are unvaccinated will need to undergo additional testing and other restrictions. That necessarily adds to their cost and adds limitations on the cruise for those people who choose to be unvaccinated. There would be no additional cost for children who are not eligible for the vaccine.

 

Our plan therefore continues to be that virtually everyone who’s eligible for a vaccine will have one. On some of our ships with fewer children, including Celebrity and Silversea and some Royal Caribbean International ships, we will ensure that the percent vaccinated will exceed 95%. On other ships we expect almost everyone over 12 will be vaccinated. The specifics are confusing and there will undoubtedly be movement of the various details during the coming weeks.

 

I know some observers will greet each issue, each minute action, each side comment as momentous. But we should all take a collective breath. We're working through the details in a positive and constructive manner. While there will inevitably be some elements of confusion as we do so, the outcome isn't in any real doubt.

 

After 15 months of no forward motion suddenly everything is happening at lightspeed. We are moving forward, and cruising is restarting. All the parties seem aligned that cruising needs to restart. The CDC in Atlanta are now constructively dialoguing with us. The governor and other Florida officials clearly want to welcome the jobs that cruising generates. The mayors and other officials are eager for our return. Even Congress understands the importance of our industry, passing, unanimously, the bill that allows us to provide cruises to Alaska this summer. Can you think of one other piece of legislation that got every member of Congress to support it? OMG, rarely have so many different interests agreed on one thing and that thing is the importance of the cruise industry restarting in a healthy manner. Therefore, it's all happening. We are moving inexorably towards the total resumption of cruising in a safe and healthy manner.

 

So last Saturday Celebrity Millennium started her first voyage in 15 months leaving from Sint Maarten to destinations in the Caribbean. In less than a week Adventure of the Seas will start sailing from Nassau. In just two weeks Celebrity Edge will depart Port Everglades with our own Captain Kate at the helm. On July 2nd, Freedom of the Seas will leave PortMiami on her first sailing to Nassau and our incomparable private island Perfect Day at CocoCay. And during the rest of the year, we will be methodically bringing back the rest of our fleet. By the way, I intend to be on these inaugural sailings from Miami to celebrate. I really do have a tough job but taking these inaugural cruises… that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make!

 

So, while I may not know every detail of the process, I can assure you of this: we will not restart any ship unless and until we are confident of two things. Firstly, that it is safe to do so and more so than shoreside equivalents, and secondly that the experience on board meets our exacting expectations, including guest ratings of the cruise at least equal to what they were pre-pandemic.

 

One of the reasons I’m so confident of the experience going forward comes from my discussions with our employees. Those conversations frankly have been very emotional for me. You all know that it’s our crew that makes our cruises so special and has for 50 years. The ships are exceptional, of course, but the crew are the people that take the experience to the next level. But while the crew are normally amazing, they are walking on cloud 9 today. It's just so emotional to talk to them and to see their enthusiasm. Frankly you can't talk to them without being overwhelmed by their emotions. That excitement is contagious, and your clients will be the beneficiaries.

 

And something similar is happening with our guests. We can already see from the first sailing on Celebrity Millennium how people are reacting. After 15 long months of isolation, the freedom of being in this kind of bubble is incredibly liberating.

 

So, start counting the days on your fingers. Mark the dates off on your calendars. Make sure your businesses are ready to respond to the pent-up demand. Summer is starting in the United States and cruising is going to be a big part of it. And don't forget to get your vaccine and wash your hands!

 

Edited by Jeremiah1212
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Still confused after watching the video…he first says we will follow the law of the land but then goes on to say that they will ensure that on Celebrity that 95% will be vaccinated…how are you going to do that unless they ask for vaccine cards..

I am booked on the 7/17 Edge and will not sail unless it is a vaccinated cruise.

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