The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) has issued a warning, saying that the number of ports it is cancelling because of bad weather in coming days may be higher than originally anticipated. This will cause significant impacts for guests who have already booked their vacation and paid for onboard activities on RCCL ships.
Royal Caribbean International has notified passengers who have booked a cruise on one of its ships of potential modifications to itineraries and onboard activities in the near future.
The letter came after numerous Royal Caribbean and other cruise ships were refused admission to Caribbean ports of call owing to higher COVID-19 caseloads aboard, additional testing requirements, or even higher caseloads onshore.
Transmission Onboard is Always a Possibility
The cruise operator informed customers of probable changes to itineraries and onboard activities in a letter delivered to guests booked aboard a Royal Caribbean ship. The letter begins with the following:
“As the number of COVID-19 cases rises owing to the Omicron variation, our public health advise evolves, and we want to make sure you know what to anticipate as we prepare to welcome you aboard.” We have strengthened onboard health protocols as a result of Omicron, which we have seen is much more transmissible with much milder symptoms for those fully vaccinated, such as the requirement to wear a mask indoors at all times unless eating or drinking, and temporarily prohibiting smoking in the casino.”
Melissa Mayntz contributed to this image.
While the onboard safeguards are one thing, most passengers will be concerned that ports of call are being omitted from itineraries at random. This is often a mutual decision made by the cruise company and the port, depending on caseloads aboard and onshore, according to Royal.
“When making these judgments, we take into account the number of COVID positive patients aboard as well as the number of cases in the destination community, as well as community vaccination status.” If we have to cancel a port of call, we will always try to locate an alternative location or find a method to make up for the lost port.”
If caseloads aboard grow, the cruise line advises that Omicron may have an influence on some onboard activities as health procedures are tightened. When the mask requirement was revised and smoking was forbidden at the casino last week, we noticed this:
“Please keep in mind that certain onboard activities, like as ice skating, rock climbing, laser tag, production shows, Adventure Ocean, and other activities, may be disrupted during your voyage as we adapt our plans to ensure that the health of both our passengers and crew remains our first concern.”
Cases Can Be Handled By Royal Caribbean Protocols
The events of the last week have shown that preventing COVID-19 transmission aboard cruise ships is practically impossible. However, the safeguards and processes in place aboard ships were never intended to eliminate all occurrences; rather, they were meant to detect such cases as quickly as possible, which the cruise lines have done in virtually all cases.
Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock / Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock / Joni Hanebutt / Sh
All crew members have been vaccinated, have gotten booster injections if necessary, and are tested every week for back of house employees and every three days for front of house workers, according to the cruise company. In addition, 95% of passengers are vaccinated, 100% are tested at least once before sailing, and practically all cases aboard are asymptomatic or have just minor symptoms. Is there a reason to be concerned?
“Even with such a high onboard community vaccination rate and increased measures in place, positive instances are possible during your cruise, just as there is an inherent risk of COVID-19 whenever people assemble or meet.” Our processes provide for this potential and are implemented as required to safeguard everyone’s health and safety.”
The cruise company has insisted that Omicron is a milder version of COVID-19 until now. It remains to be seen whether or not this is correct. What we do see, and what is missing from the letter, is the random testing criteria that various ports have adopted in the previous few days, as well as how it plans to handle this problem.
If passengers decide not to travel owing to the facts provided in the letter, the cruise company is now offering the option to reschedule a journey for sailings leaving until January 17, 2022.