“While disappointing, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests."
- Royal Caribbean International’s CEO Michael Bayley
The debut of the Odyssey of the Seas was highly anticipated as cruise lines attempt a comeback after more than 15 months of not sailing from the U.S. because of the pandemic. Royal Caribbean International has said that passengers are “strongly recommended” to get vaccinated, adding that unvaccinated passengers must be tested for the virus and follow other measures.
Celebrity Edge, also part of the Royal Caribbean Group, is set to become the first post-pandemic ship to sail from the U.S. with ticketed passengers on June 26. A Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman told The Associated Press that Celebrity Edge is able to sail without a test run because it is following CDC guidelines allowing ships with 98% vaccinated crew and 95% vaccinated guests to skip that step.
“We are exceeding these guidelines,” said Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman Susan Lomax in an email.
A new Florida law bans businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination. Gov. Ron DeSantis argues the legislation was meant to preserve individual freedom and medical privacy.
Lomax said the state law stipulates that businesses may not require customers to provide any documents, “but we are able to ask guests if they would like to share their vaccination status.”