How to navigate during the coronavirus pandemic
The on-board experience will be very different for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers
The vaccination rules can be a bit confusing. For example, because Florida prohibits private companies from refusing to serve unvaccinated people, cruise lines departing from that state must allow both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers. Norwegian, however, has chosen to sail from other states, in order to be able to carry 100% of vaccinated passengers. (His litigation against the Florida ordinance recently received a federal judge’s blessing.)
Florida cruise lines have developed a wristband system, where vaccinated passengers wear one color and unvaccinated passengers wear another. Ships will have areas reserved for vaccinated passengers, where they will be free to walk around without a mask inside and mingle as if it was in 2019. (Editor’s note: In light of the spread of the Delta variant, these policies may change.)
Policies for unvaccinated passengers vary by cruise line, but for the most part, unvaccinated passengers will be relegated to the common areas of the ship and will typically need to wear masks inside, outside of their cabin, or while eating. or by drinking. They will also have designated areas in the main dining room and will not be able to make reservations at specialty restaurants. Unvaccinated passengers will also have certain hours to use the gym.
Unvaccinated passengers found in the vax-only areas will be politely invited to depart by the crew, who, Muskat told us, have been specially trained to handle the situation gently.
“I don’t think there will be much scarlet letter effect,” Muskat says. “Everyone gets tested before boarding, whether you are vaccinated or not. “