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Royal Caribbean No Longer Requiring COVID Testing on Short Cruises

Royal Caribbean Group announced it would no longer require vaccinated passengers to take a coronavirus test before boarding voyages of six nights or less.

According to Royal Caribbean officials said the decision would go into effect on August 8 and all voyages before that date must still follow existing COVID-19 testing protocols, which vary by destination.

Unvaccinated travelers and anyone boarding a ship for a voyage of six nights or longer will be required to take an approved coronavirus test within three days of their departure date.

Despite the testing changes, Royal Caribbean said it would “continue to maintain a high percentage of fully vaccinated guests,” and that all employees working on the ships will be fully vaccinated and tested regularly.

The cruise line’s decision to cut some testing requirements comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially ended its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships.

The program was a “voluntary” program—though cruise lines couldn’t exactly decline to opt-in—which replaced the CDC’s previous Conditional Sailing Order in February.

Last week, the CDC released a new set of recommendations for the cruise industry, which includes strongly recommending pre-embarkation coronavirus testing within one day of embarkation.

The CDC also recommends that all eligible travelers should be up to date with their vaccination status, while those with a prior medical condition should talk to their healthcare provider before booking a cruise, even if fully vaccinated.

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