Several cruise lines have started to (re)introduce a mask requirement for their voyages when utilizing the indoor spaces on the ship and some such as Celebrity Cruises haven’t really don’t a great job in communicating this, even on boarding day.
I took the Celebrity Edge for another week out of Fort Lauderdale yesterday and their mask policy must have changed sometime between leaving the ship at 10 am and returning two hours later (without any information on their part).
Rules are generally a good thing especially when you have several thousand people on board and usually, cruisers are pretty compliant with the regulations on board, even more reason to make updates known to passengers at the earliest opportunity.
Celebrity’s mother company Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) had already instituted their own requirements in the last weeks of 2021 and published a communique to that effect:
Royal Caribbean’s mask policy is reviewed periodically, but has been pretty consistent since the line restarted operations in 2021.
On December 17, 2021, the cruise line announced masks are required for all guests, regardless of vaccination status, at all times indoors except while eating or drinking. This includes at venues reserved for vaccinated guests only. Note that this policy is in place for all sailings departing before January 5, 2022, at which point it will be reevaluated.
Masks are NOT required to be worn:
- In open-air areas of the ship, unless you are in a crowded setting.
- In the pool or any activity where they may become wet.
- In your stateroom when you are with your traveling party.
- While visiting our private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless you are in a crowded setting.
- By any guest under the age of 2.
This policy was put in place on December 17th but was valid for RCCL ships only. Celebrity Cruises did not implement the same rule and up to this date, they have not amended their healthy at sea guidelines, explicitly stating that masks are not required for fully vaccinated passengers.
Following CDC Guidelines, masks will not be required for vaccinated guests. Masks are required for unvaccinated guests under 12 years old while indoors when not in their stateroom, eating or drinking.
Sailings outside of North America may require face masks to be worn indoors, except when eating or drinking.
Something interesting happened yesterday as I left the EDGE in the morning after my excellent Christmas/New Years’ cruise, going ashore for a few hours before boarding again for the new sailing on a different route.
Old rules (no masks anywhere) were in place by the time we left the ship, escorted by the ladies from The Retreat. Coming back on, neither in the boarding area nor the transit desk where I got my new Seapass card was a notice posted or handed to me about a mask rule change. No verbal notification either.
The ship left and later around 7:30 pm a letter (which some passengers apparently received during boarding) was delivered to my room saying masks are now required indoors when not eating or drinking. Well, it’s a cruise so you eat and drink something almost all the time… but you get the picture.
This is the letter:
Interesting that the passengers on the current cruise 10 hours after disembarkation are being informed in detail about the infections that happened on our last sailing while there wasn’t really a lot of information going around for the past week. Certainly not that 1%+ of our last load have been diagnosed with Covid.
By the way, that any guest opting to isolate after disembarking was transported to a shoreside accommodation by Celebrity is a lie. I don’t know of any such offer having been made to guests in a public or private way.
Yet it’s pretty obvious that some people have Covid or being in close contact to someone does, it’s inevitable. For example, the casino (which was packed during the last sailing) is understaffed now as some crew has been quarantined.
Why they wouldn’t have given this to guests at the point of boarding or in front of the terminal boggles my mind. I’m sure some would have elected to not take the cruise and do something else instead.
While not a big deal, having to suddenly wear a mask onboard like anywhere else would have moved me to just get a rental car and drive down to Key West. My cruise was comped by the casino so since there’s no financial impact it’d have been an easy call. Instead, they let passengers board and (at least in my case) confront them with the new facts after the ship has left port. Pretty dishonest if you ask me.
Cruise lines are now coming up with new rules concerning the wearing of masks onboard their vessels. This isn’t very surprising considering the CDC said last week passengers shouldn’t take cruises at the moment but considering a company like Celebrity still has a notice up that no masks are required and then sends out communication to passengers after the ship has left the port that masks are now required…
I’m not sure what to think of that but I consider this a pretty deceptive way of dealing with customers, many of which have paid thousands for their vacation. Wearing a mask isn’t a big deal but do I want that on a cruise vacation if the alternative is to do something else, maybe a rented vacation home where I can relax without anyone around? I’m sure many folks would and will pass on a cruise with these new rules.