(3:20 p.m. - ET) -- The 2022 Alaska cruise season is just around the corner. Beginning in late April, major lines will be returning to the Last Frontier in full force for the first time since 2019. In preparation, Royal Caribbean has published COVID-19 health protocols that will apply for its ships departing from Vancouver, British Columbia; Seward, Alaska and Seattle, Washington.
Royal Caribbean is set to kick off its 2022 Alaska cruise season with a seven-night Alaska Glacier cruise out of Vancouver on Radiance of the Seas. Throughout the season, the cruise line will also offer seven-to-18-night Alaska sailings on Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas.
If you're booked -- or thinking of booking a cruise to Alaska with Royal Caribbean this year -- here's everything you need to know about the line's new COVID-19 health policies for the upcoming 2022 Alaska cruise season.
Royal Caribbean Vaccine Requirements for 2022 Alaska Sailings
All passengers ages 12 and up will be required to be fully vaccinated, though booster shots will not be required. Vaccinations will not be required for kids ages five to 11, but in lieu of full vaccination, children ages five to 11 will have to follow additional protocols, including masking.
It's worth noting that Royal Caribbean will not accept a Certificate of Recovery in the absence of proof of vaccination. Royal Caribbean does allow for vaccine requirement exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
All unvaccinated guests over 11, will be required to follow guidelines and rules for unvaccinated children, including testing, masking and other onboard protocol.
All crew members will be fully vaccinated.
COVID Testing Requirements for Royal Caribbean's 2022 Alaska Cruises
Pre-cruise testing will be required for all Royal Caribbean Alaska sailings. Upon arrival at the cruise terminal, all vaccinated guests will be required to show a negative result from a PCR or antigen test, taken no more than two days before boarding day.
Unvaccinated kids ages two to 11 will be required to show a negative result from a PCR test taken no more than three days before boarding day, but not on boarding day. Antigen tests will not be accepted for unvaccinated passengers.
All pre-cruise testing will be at the passenger's own cost.
For children ages two to 11, additional complimentary testing will take place at the cruise terminal on disembarkation day, and unvaccinated kids ages five to 11 will receive a complimentary mid-cruise antigen test before visiting or disembarking in Canada. For cruises disembarking in the U.S., children ages two to 11 will be tested no more than one day before arrival. All pre-disembarkation testing will be done free of charge.
Certificates of Recovery will be accepted in lieu of a pre-cruise test. Certificates of Recovery must be accompanied by proof of a positive PCR test taken between 11 to 90s days before the sail date.
Children under two years of age will be exempt from testing requirements.
Mask Rules on Royal Caribbean Ships Sailing to Alaska
If you're fully vaccinated, masking up onboard will be optional on all Royal Caribbean's Alaska sailings.
Unvaccinated guests (mainly kids ages two to 11) will be expected to wear masks indoors and in crowded settings, and masks will be required for all children ages two and up while participating in the ships' Adventure Ocean youth program. Small children under two years of age will be exempt.
Dining Options for Guests Traveling with Unvaccinated Children
Passengers will have the option to dine with passengers outside of their travel party as long as everyone in all parties is fully vaccinated.
Passengers traveling with unvaccinated children will not be able to mingle with other parties while dining. Instead, passengers dining with unvaccinated children will be seated at their own private table.
Testing is Required for all Pre-Cruise and Post-Cruise Shore Excursions in Alaska
All fully vaccinated guests booked onto cruisetours, aka pre- or post-cruise land tours, will be required to show a negative PCR or antigen test result taken no more than two days before the start of the tour. For unvaccinated kids ages 2 to 11, the requirement is a negative PCR test—antigens tests are not accepted in this case -- taken no more than three days before the cruisetour.
Again, testing requirements do not apply for children under age two.
Cruisetour testing will not count toward the testing requirements needed to board the ship. Additional testing will also be required for all guests taking a pre-cruise tour before boarding the ship. Royal Caribbean advises packing your own proctored eMed antigen self-test but can also refer passengers to a testing provider in Anchorage if requested. Unvaccinated kids will be required to be PCR tested at an Anchorage provider; eMed tests results will not be accepted.
All cruisetour testing costs and scheduling will be the responsibility of the passenger.
How Cruise Ship Shore Excursions Will Work for Royal Caribbean's Alaska Sailings
Royal Caribbean passengers will be allowed to roam freely at ports of call on Alaska sailings this year. The cruise line adds, however, that protocols for going ashore in Canada have not yet been finalized.
Currently, Canadian ports of call will require passengers to download the ArriveCAN app or complete the mandatory arrival information on the ArrivCAN website.
The new rules are currently in effect through May 31, 2022.