Cruise Lines’ workaround for the Florida vaccination passport ban doesn’t make it any easier for the unvaccinated


  • Cruise ships wishing to operate out of Florida adhere to the state’s strict ban on vaccination records.
  • Vaccinated and unvaccinated guests sailing from Florida can have different cruise experiences.
  • Unvaccinated guests aboard Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruises will face higher costs and restrictions on board.
  • Check out Insider’s business page for more stories.

Cruise lines have found a way to circumvent Florida’s strict ban on vaccination passports, but that doesn’t mean unvaccinated passengers should expect equal treatment on board cruises departing from the Sunshine State.

It will actually be the opposite: unlike their vaccinated counterparts, unvaccinated guests aboard Carnival and Royal Caribbean’s Florida cruises will have to pay for travel insurance and COVID-19 testing, but will still be excluded from select areas of the ships.

In April Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning vaccine passports and Florida companies from requiring said vaccination records. Shortly afterwards, the state passed a law officially banning vaccine passports.

Any company that breaks the ban can be fined $ 5,000 per customer.

Frank Del Rio – President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) – has already threatened to suspend Norwegian cruises to Florida if the company cannot operate on a vaccination mandate. And this month, NCLH sued Florida’s surgeon-general over the law and asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to issue an injunction against the vaccination card ban.

But unlike Norwegian, other shipping companies have decided against a vaccination mandate for Florida crossings, even if the same companies have vaccination requirements for almost all other departures from home ports outside Florida.

This could give unvaccinated passengers a chance to cruise, but their experience will be both more expensive and limited compared to vaccinated guests. This could discourage unvaccinated individuals from cruising, even if the reasons for these differences are related to health protocols and safety.

A breakdown of the additional payments

The Carnival Vista cruise ship.

The Carnival Vista cruise ship.

RHONA WISE / AFP / Getty Images

From August 1 through the end of the year, all unvaccinated Royal Caribbean Florida cruise passengers 12 and older are required to provide proof of travel insurance. The insurance must have a minimum of US $ 25,000 per person in medical coverage and US $ 50,000 for “quarantine and medical evacuation in connection with a positive COVID-19 test result”.

In addition to insurance payments, unvaccinated cruisers will also have to pay for COVID-19 tests that vaccinated passengers are not required to take, for an additional payment of $ 136 or $ 178 depending on the length of the journey.

Carnival has a similar requirement for its Florida crossings: starting July 31, every unvaccinated passenger 12 and older must show proof of travel insurance that must cover at least $ 10,000 in medical expenses and $ 30,000 in “emergency” evacuation and without COVID-19 exclusions. “

Unvaccinated carnival guests who do not provide proof of vaccination are not allowed to go on board and will not receive a refund. And as with Royal Caribbean, Carnival passengers who don’t want the stitches will have to spend an additional $ 150 on COVID-19 tests and other “health screening measures”.

“Consistent with the practices of other lines that are also resuming operations, and in the best interests of our unvaccinated guests, this is an important safeguard should they encounter a medical situation during their cruise,” said Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival Carnival spokesman , told USA today.

Venue restrictions

royal caribbean ship

The Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas docked in Miami in 2008.

Lynne Sladky / AP

Contrary to your intuition, paying more does not mean exclusive access to the ship. In this case it is exactly the opposite.

In addition to the additional payments, unvaccinated passengers are not allowed in certain locations on Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines.

After carnival website, unvaccinated guests can neither use the sauna nor the thermal baths and unvaccinated children and adolescents are not allowed to participate in the shipping company’s youth camp program.

Unvaccinated friendly areas aboard Royal Caribbean cruises vary by ship. You will find the full list of accessible venues on its website, but in general the casinos and selected restaurants, bars, lounges, activities, casinos are reserved for vaccinated people only.

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