In late July the CDC relaxed Covid requirements for the cruise industry. Since then, cruise lines can make their own rules and manage the monitoring of Covid-19 on cruise ships on their own. Now, more cruise lines are dropping Covid vaccine and precruise Covid testing requirements. The unvaccinated cruise is now back. Some cruise lines already let children and a select few customers travel unvaccinated. Now that is being further expanded as cruise lines try to return to normal. Norwegian Cruise lines is just a one cruise lines which has updated their requirements for cruises this fall. Royal Caribbean Group which owns Silverseas and Celebrity is hinting at unvaccinated cruises later this year.
If you are taking a cruise and still need a rapid Covid-19 antigen test, try Azova for a inexpensive effective option.
Unvaccinated Guests Return to Cruising
Starting September 3, 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line Parent company is adjusting the required pre-cruise testing and vaccination protocols for all cruises, with the new guidelines taking effect September 3, 2022. The new guidelines effect NCL, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas. Under the new rules, Unvaccinated passengers ages 12 and older must still present a medically supervised negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before sailing. Children under 12 will not have to present negative Covid-19 tests, regardless of vaccination status. Do note, that some countries still require covid-19 testing for sailing. If this is the case, you still need a negative test or be vaccinated. Be sure to double check or work with a travel agent to ensure you’re meeting the requirements of the cruise you are considering.
Some cruise lines are still limiting the number of unvaccinated guests onboard. It’s important to note if the cruise line has a limit of unvaccinated guests. Especially if you are unvaccinated. The industry is still recovering and working under a patchwork of regulations. Below are the current requirements, as August 9, 2022 by cruise line.
Carnival Cruise Lines Covid Requirements
Carnival allows unvaccinated guests to return to sailing. All unvaccinated guests ages 2 and older are required to receive a lab-administered PCR or antigen test up to 3 days before sailing. The following voyages require guests, age 12 and older, to be fully vaccinated. In addition, all guests, age 18 and older, who are more than 6 months past the last dose of their initial vaccine series must be boosted (if eligible) in order to sail:
- Carnival Pride® and Carnival Celebration™ Europe – All 2022 departures
- Carnival Splendor® 23-day Carnival Journey (Transpacific) – September 6, 2022
- Carnival Spirit® 16-day Carnival Journey (Panama Canal) – September 20, 2022
Other cruises have limited space for vaccine exempt guests through December 2022. Vaccine exemptions are limited to a small number of guests who are over age 5. Each sailing is unvaxxed capacity-controlled based on the total number of vaccinated guests projected to be on board. Children under five are not required to apply for a vaccine exemption. However, they must still follow requirements for unvaccinated guests, including pre-cruise and onboard testing. Requests are not guaranteed and will be processed after the booking is paid in full, in sailing date order, and once we have finalized the estimated vaccinated guest count.
Vaccinated passengers still must present a medically supervised negative covid antigen or rapid pcr test before sailing.
- Cruises 5 days or less: With the exception of sailings to Bermuda and Canada, fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to test before sailing.
- Cruises 6 days or more: All guests are required to take an official COVID-19 test before boarding. They can take a PCR test 72 hours prior to sailing, or an antigen test two days prior to sailing.
Find an update to carnival covid-19 requirements here.
Celebrity Cruise Lines Covid Requirements
As of August 8, 2022 only children under 12 are welcome as unvaccinated guests on Celebrity cruise lines when leaving the United States. Otherwise all guests must be fully vaccinated 14 days before departure. For those who are unvaccinated, pre-embarkation testing is required
Testing is still required for some cruises. For all sailings 5 nights or less, no testing is required for vaccinated guests. For all sailings 6 nights or longer, vaccinated guests must present a digital or physical copy of a supervised and negative COVID-19 test result from a test taken within 3 days prior to sailing. Antibody tests are not accepted.
Norwegian Cruise, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas
Starting Sept 3, 2022, Unvaccinated Guests are welcome to cruise with no capacity limits. Unvaccinated passengers ages 12 and older must present a medically supervised negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before sailing. Children under 12 will not have to present negative Covid-19 tests. The NCL covid rules are among the most flexible for unvaccinated passengers on cruises leaving the United States.
An update is coming August 14. On a recent communication to travel agents, Royal Caribbean President Michael Bayley recently said, “For those clients booked after August 14, 2022, please await the specific protocol details from us related to those sailings.” I expect that RCI will be dropping the vaccination requirements. Currently, guests with a certificate of recovery within 90 days of travel are welcome to cruise. We shall see this expanded for future cruises.
The Adults only cruise lines allow for 10% of passengers to travel unvaccinated. Virgin Voyages also was the first to end pre-departure COVID testing. Making travel easier for all guests. The 10% rule remains in effect for cruising leaving the United States.
Cruising still requires either a covid-19 test and vaccination in most situations. The mass market of Unvaccinated cruises are not back yet. If you are unvaccinated and looking to cruise, be sure to work with a travel partner, such as Scott & Thomas, who is familiar with the individual cruise lines policy. It’s good to be knowledgeable about maritime law before booking a cruise trip. Although cruises from the US may not require covid vaccination, a port on the cruise may. If that’s the case, then everyone on the cruise will need to meet the vaccine requirements. Be sure to familiarize your self, or reach out and I’m happy to help find you a cruise that meets you and your family needs.