It’s been more than a year since most cruise ships have been able to sail from or to U.S. ports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some cruise lines, with new cleaning equipment and safety measures in place, have already restarted operations in Europe and Asia, but U.S. cruise ship docks remain quiet.
Some cruise lines are announcing that they will soon cruise from ports just outside the U.S., in the Bahamas or the Caribbean. But with the increasingly steady rollout of vaccines across the U.S., cruise fans are getting excited about the thought of being able to cruise from U.S. ports again.
The question remains: will you need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before you can board a cruise ship?
The answer isn’t fully clear yet, but several popular cruise lines have already announced that they will require passengers to be fully vaccinated before they come on board. “Fully vaccinated” generally means that a passenger has received a one-shot vaccine, or both doses of a two-shot vaccine. Some cruise lines are specifying that vaccination must be completed at least 14 days before boarding the ship.
Cruise lines that have announced they will require COVID-19 vaccinations for some or all of their cruises include American Cruise Lines, Avalon Waterways, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, UnCruise Adventures, Virgin Voyages and Windstar. Some cruise lines – like Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas – have announced that they will require all crew members to be fully vaccinated before sailing, though they have not yet announced any vaccination requirements for passengers.
Already, the details of vaccinations and testing requirements vary among cruise lines. For example, American Cruise Lines requires COVID vaccination and a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within four days of sailing. Avalon Waterways require proof that passengers have been fully vaccinated; or, proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 72 hours of sailing; or, proof of having recovered from a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis within the previous 90 days.
As for children, some cruise lines, including Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, have announced they will require guests under age 18 to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of sailing.
As you plan your next cruise, stay in touch with Anita, your professional travel advisor, who will be able to update you on the COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for your chosen cruise line.
Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel