In the wake of a somewhat rocky re-entry into cruising, Royal Caribbean International is now requiring unvaccinated passengers age 12 and older to show proof of insurance that covers all COVID-19 medical expenses. The move comes on the heels of the discovery of COVID-19 cases on its recent cruises.
In June two teenagers tested positive for the virus on Adventure of the Seas. And before that two other people tested positive on Celebrity Millennium. In all instances the cruise line covered quarantine and evacuation expenses.
The line also was forced to postpone its launch of Odyssey of the Seas after crew members proved positive for the virus.
Insurance coverage limits
According to Royal Caribbean, the policy must include a minimum of $25,000 for medical expenses and $50,000 per person for travel. Passengers need to show proof of insurance at check-ins beginning Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021.
Every unvaccinated guest is also subject to additional testing and specific health protocols, according to Michael Bayley, the cruise line's chief executive officer.
Travel insurance companies see sales boom
The new rule is causing a rise in sales for travel insurance firms. One company, InsureMyTrip, said it has seen the number of policies sold for future cruises hit their highest levels since February 2020 — up 60 percent from four weeks ago.
"Travel insurance has always been top of mind for cruisers. We expect the cruise industry to really pick up speed following the pandemic-related slump — and we are doing everything we can to ensure cruisers have the right travel insurance," says Cheryl Golden, vice president of ecommerce for InsureMyTrip.
Travel insurance agents highly recommend buying cruise-specific travel insurance. It could save you a bundle. But let's hope for smooth and safe sailings.