Royal Caribbean Loosens Mask Policy, Allows Casino Smoking Again

As the surge of the Omicron variant winds down, Royal Caribbean International has announced that it is reverting its protocols back to how they were before the sharp rise in cases.

No More Masks in Vaccinated-Only Venues

When the line resumed sailings, it required that masks be worn in indoor public areas by all passengers when not eating or drinking, unless they were in a venue dedicated to vaccinated guests only. In December 2021, it tightened that policy to all indoor public areas — included vaccinated-only spaces.

Now this rule is going back to the way it was. Starting February 15, 2022, guests will be able to go mask-free in vaccinated guest venues, which include select restaurants, bars, entertainment options, and the casino.

navigator of the seas exterior 2019
Navigator of the Seas in 2019 (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Smoking Now Permitted in the Casino

In December, Royal Caribbean also announced that it was temporarily banning smoking in the casino completely, meaning those who wanted to smoke had to do so in the designated outdoor area.

Also starting February 15, smoking will once again be allowed in the smoking sections of the casino. Masks are also not required in the casino, because Royal Caribbean’s casinos are currently among its indoor vaccinated-only venues.

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Royal Caribbean’s Current Masking Policy

Here is the current rundown on where masks are and aren’t required on Royal Caribbean’s ships:

Masks are required:

  • While in indoor public areas of the ship, unless seated and eating or drinking
  • While visiting public ports of call where local regulations may require them

Masks aren’t required:

  • In outdoor areas of the ship
  • In the pool or during any activity where they may get wet
  • At venues designated for vaccinated passengers only, starting February 15
  • In your cabin
  • While visiting Royal Caribbean’s private destinations
  • By any passenger under 2 years old
symphony of the seas royal caribbean
The Central Park neighborhood on Symphony of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Royal Caribbean’s announcement follows on the heels of a similar change in protocols from Norwegian Cruise Line. Yesterday, the line revealed that as of March 1, it will also be reverting to its pre-Omicron policy regarding masks — that is, that they aren’t required for anyone anywhere on its ships at all.

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