As the covid epidemic becomes more complex, cruise lines have slowly returned to normal or at least to near-normal.
It's not that the coronavirus pandemic has come to an end, but it most certainly hasn't, and scary new features are always possible.
But Royal Caribbean () -, Carnival Cruise Lines () -, and Norwegian Cruise Lines () have worked hard to keep cruising back to what it was in early 2020 before the industry's long shutdown.
Royal Caribbean had not fully diversified its policy until July 2020, when cruises first arrived. Freedom of the Seas and vaccinations were suggested, not completely required, and precruise testing was not yet a thing.
Social distancing was encouraged, not particularly enforced, and masks were required in some areas, but sections marked vaccinated-only were mask-free.
The cruise line became somewhat apprehensive, and as vaccinations were approved for children, the cruise line increased that requirement. Mask rules changed in strictness, but masks remain an onboard requirement until February, when the cruise line changed them to include kids with the Adventure Ocean club.
The law has now been changed, and while some parents may dislike the mask restrictions, many have felt it hinders their kids from going regular.
The Royal Caribbean
What Is the Royal Caribbean Adventure Ocean?
Adventure Ocean is the catch-all name for Royal Caribbean's onboard areas for children ages 12 and under. However, age breakdowns may vary a bit by ship, but there are groups for children starting at 6 months old and running through 12-year-olds. These are drop-off programs that may be combined with an additional charge (it depends on the age and the time of day).
Although Adventure Ocean offers several onboard areas, those are come-and-go-as-you-please instead of the check-in required babysitting service.
The cruise line's devastating return has included a slew of restrictions. However, on many sailings, the times available were limited, and reservations were required (though walk-ins were accepted if there was availability). In addition, even after masks had become optional for adults, they remained required in Adventure Ocean.
Because while Royal Caribbean requires all passengers to provide a negative covid test no longer than two days before sailing, kids 12 and under were not required to be vaccinated. This boosted the possibility that vaccinated and unvaccinated children would arrive at Adventure Ocean at the same time.
While children aged 12 to 17 are still not required to be vaccinated to cruise with Royal Caribbean, the Adventure Ocean mask procedure has been altered to make masks available.
What Has Royal Caribbean Done With Masks?
Matt Hochberg of the, who has no affiliation with the Cruise Line, said that Royal Caribbean this week had quietly changed its Adventure Ocean mask policy. After she saw it on her cruise on Oasis of the Seas, one of his readers tipped him off to the change. The cruise line had issued the following guidelines.
"Mask wearing is optional for children participating in Adventure Ocean. However, masks are recommended for unvaccinated children 2 and up. Children under 2 do not have to wear a mask at any time."
This is a shift from recent protocols that have required masks.
The three major cruise lines, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian have also been reinstated. That change has been made after a federal judge removed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's effort to extend mask-wearing restrictions in cargo areas.