Here’s where each major cruise line stands on COVID protocols

The return of cruises has had many jumping for joy, but with each cruise line adhering to different COVID-19 protocols, booking a cruise can be terribly confusing.

After the severe restrictions imposed during the pandemic, there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to what rules will apply to cruise ships.

“The cruise industry has seen a slower return to normal since the pandemic, but is definitely making a comeback,” said Dr. Jan Jones of the University of New Haven’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism to Condé Nast Traveler. “Cruisers have been waiting patiently and there is some catching up to do. The slow return has been marred by low consumer confidence, ongoing health and safety concerns and issues with air travel to and from ports.”

According to the Australian Department of Health, from July 2022 travelers to and from Australia will no longer be required to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status, although travelers are advised to get vaccinated for their own protection.

However, the department warns that cruise lines may have specific requirements for their passengers and must also meet any requirements of the state or territory in which they operate – meaning it’s best to check your cruise line’s and state and/or or to check territories and countries you will travel to.

We’ve rounded up the cruise lines that have adapted their approach to COVID-19 in a post-pandemic world.

Azamara

Azamara does not require a negative COVID-19 test before boarding unless required by local country regulations (however, those embarking from Australia do require a test).

They also strongly recommend that guests take a COVID-19 test prior to travel. Azamara offers a complimentary pre-cruise land program test prior to embarkation or hotel guests.

Carnival cruises

Vaccinated cruises are available to guests 12 years and older who have received their last dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to departure date (excluding embarkation date) and have proof of vaccination.

Celebrity Cruises

All guests 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated to sail and while COVID-19 booster vaccinations are not currently required to sail, they are strongly recommended.

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Guests are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if 2 weeks have elapsed since their second dose in a 2-dose series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna vaccines); or 2 weeks after a series of single doses such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. All guests must test negative for COVID-19 to board.

Heavenly

A vaccination or COVID recovery certificate is required for all guests 12 years and older. All guests 18 and older require immunization booster shots after nine months (270 days) and a rapid COVID-19 antigen test or PCR test for all guests 12 and older. Self-tests are not accepted.

Disney cruise line

Beginning September 2, 2022, for voyages departing from ports in the United States and Canada, Disney Cruise Line requires all vaccinated guests (age 12 and older), including children, to be fully immunized in order to board.

Unvaccinated children aged five to 11 no longer need the vaccine to sail, although cruises visiting Australia, Canada and Greece are still required to have a passenger test before setting sail.

Holland America Line

It is strongly recommended that guests are fully vaccinated and refreshed (if eligible) at the time of sailing.

To find out what vaccination and testing requirements apply to your trip, click here. Extended testing and vaccination requirements may apply to certain itineraries, so it is important that guests check the requirements for their specific booking using the link above.

MSC cruises

All guests embarking are strongly recommended, but not required, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It is not required (but strongly recommended) for vaccinated guests to present a negative test.

Unvaccinated guests, guests without vaccination certificate or guests who have recovered from COVID-19, 5 years and older must present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR or antigen test taken 48 hours prior to embarkation. Tests must be certified by the laboratory – a rapid antigen self-test is not valid for travel purposes.

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Norwegian cruise line

Effective October 4, 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line will drop all vaccination requirements on its worldwide cruises, becoming the first major cruise line to announce it will drop requirements for all guests.

NCL will continue to follow the travel requirements of the destinations visited as some countries require a negative test for vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers aged 12 and over or a certificate of recovery.

Oceania cruises

Fully vaccinated travelers 12 years and older are not required to be tested prior to embarkation, but unvaccinated travelers are required to present a negative medically administered Covid-19 test. Antigen and PCR test results must not be older than 72 hours at the time of boarding.

Travelers under the age of 11 are not subject to cruise ship vaccination requirements or testing protocols. Fully vaccinated travelers must meet the generally accepted definition of “fully vaccinated” based on the destination they are boarding and/or traveling to and provide proof of vaccination.

Travelers unable to provide proof of vaccination may travel but are subject to all required testing protocols.

P&O Cruises Australia

Before boarding, guests will fill out a health declaration, which includes proof that they have no COVID symptoms. All guests 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated with a TGA approved or recognized vaccine. It is strongly recommended that eligible children under the age of 12 are also fully vaccinated.

At least 95% of guests must be fully vaccinated for each P&O Cruises departure.

Guests must also provide their vaccination status at the time of booking and provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding.

New Caledonia

Princess Cruises

Guests must have received their last dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to cruise departure and present acceptable proof upon check-in at the terminal.
Boosters are highly recommended for eligible individuals at least seven days prior to the cruise.

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Upon check-in at the terminal, guests must confirm a negative COVID-19 viral test (PCR or rapid antigen) taken prior to embarkation.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Fully vaccinated guests do not need to be tested prior to embarkation. Unvaccinated guests may board with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test from a registered testing provider, taken within 3 days prior to embarkation.

royal caribbean

All Royal Caribbean guests departing from Australia must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with the last dose given at least 14 days prior to departure. Children under the age of 11 do not need a COVID-19 vaccination for a cruise, but it is strongly recommended.

Australian federal and state government cruise policy requires at least 95% of guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Children 11 years and younger and guests with valid Medical Exemptions may travel – however, there is a limit to the number of unvaccinated guests that can travel on each cruise departure.

Seabourn

For most cruises under 16 nights, fully vaccinated guests are no longer required to submit a pre-cruise COVID-19 test, and unvaccinated guests are only required to submit a self-administered test taken within three days prior to the cruise.

The protocols do not apply to itineraries to countries where local regulations may differ including Canada, Australia and Greece.

Before your cruise, check the advanced protocol search to find out if your trip requires additional health regulations.

silver lake

All boarding crew members and all guests 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to embarkation.

Only guests with WHO approved vaccines are allowed to board. A copy of the vaccination record must be uploaded to the guest’s My Silversea prior to voyage, and the vaccination record or a printed copy must be presented during the check-in and embarkation process.

maiden voyages

Negative COVID-19 tests are required for unvaccinated sailors, but they may require testing for a number of reasons, including recoveries within 90 days.

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