Cruise line charging unvaccinated travellers more and demands they purchase travel insurance

Cruise line charging unvaccinated travellers more and demands they purchase travel insurance

Royal Caribbean is requiring unvaccinated cruisers above age 12 embarking from Florida to buy travel insurance, beginning August 1 and through the end of the year.

The insurance has to cover at least $25,000 per person in medical expenses and $50,000 per person in medical evacuation. You can purchase via the cruise line — which tends to be pricey — or via independent sellers.

According to InsureMyTrip.com, a typical comprehensive plan, also including trip cancellation protection, would run about $200, based on a family of four spending $4,000 on a cruise to Mexico. There’s also the option of a cancel for any reason upgrade.

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For a plan that simply satisfies Royal’s requirements, medical-only plans via InsureMyTrip start at about $30 for a family of four.

The plans Royal sells via www.travelcruisecare.com are around $300 per family.

The cheapest you’ll get away with is $120, but many will pay at least double that.

On the Freedom of the Seas sailings, everyone will be able to spend time at the beach at Royal’s private Perfect Day at CocoCay private Bahamas island without charge — though, of course, you will pay extra to get into the Thrill Waterpark or do the zipline.

In Nassau, unvaccinated guests will be able to explore only on shore excursions (no independent touring allowed). You can splurge on a beach day with a dolphin encounter for $99 per person, though the cruise line has also introduced on its startup sailings inexpensive experiences that for $30 per person allow you to do a sunset harbor cruise, a glass bottom reef tour or a Rainbow Reef snorkel.

So if you want to see Nassau, the cheapest you’ll get away with is $120.

Royal is requiring all guests onboard at least the first sailing of Freedom of the Seas to wear masks. You don’t need an N-95, but you’ll want a selection of masks for each member of your family — especially since masks get both sweaty and smelly in the tropical heat.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends unvaccinated people wear masks that have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric and fit snugly, with a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out the top. Special masks are recommended for kids.

That may add up to $80 for a family of four.

All of this means you should plan to spend at least an extra $700 for an unvaccinated family of four — even before you get on the ship and consider onboard temptations.

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