Royal Caribbean International has announced it won’t require US passengers to get vaccinated to go on several ships set to sail this summer.
The cruise line said that it would only “strongly” encourage guests to get a COVID-19 shot, despite previously saying that it would be a requirement, the Miami Herald reported.
“Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible,” the company said in a statement on Friday.
“Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date.”
The new rules were announced as the company said it will resume cruises on six new ships from US ports this summer, starting with Freedom of the Seas from Miami on July 2.
Crew members on the ships will still be fully vaccinated.Getty Images
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened to fine cruise lines $5,000 each time they require a guest to show proof of vaccination.
It’s unclear whether the change in vaccination in policy is in response to the state ban.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that passengers, crew and port workers receive the jabs.
But the cruise line said it still needs to complete voyages for test cruises before getting approval for the newly announced cruises.
“The progress made as a result of the ongoing collaboration with and support from the state, local, and federal level continues to set the stage for Royal Caribbean to return to sailing this summer as planned,” Royal Caribbean International said in a statement.
“The cruise line will share updates on measures with guests and travel advisors before their departure dates.”
Crew members on the ships will still be fully vaccinated, the Washington Post reported.
Vaccinations will still be required for Royal Caribbean ships departing Seattle for Alaska this summer, as well as those sailing from the Bahamas and other international ports, the newspaper reported.