Great news for cruisers and new cruisers considering an upcoming cruise vacation. It will now be much easier to board your ship in the future as Pre-Boarding testing and even vaccination requirements are easing for many cruise lines.
Read on for a quick summary of:
Why are regulations easing:
As most cruisers know, the cruise industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries under the hospitality sector and the rapid spread of the COVID virus and ensuing Government regulations and advisories grounded the cruise industry for almost two years.
The cruise industry spent this time investing in many new safety and healthy protocols, facilities along with technology to finally receive CDC approval to start sailing last summer. Among the many new initiatives implemented were that all staff and eligible guests be fully vaccinated and provide a negative COVID test before boarding.
This is all changing now since the CDC recently dropped their Covid program for cruise lines. Since then, cruise lines have been announcing new Covid protocols that balances healthy and safe cruising but in conjunction with falling Covid case counts and less severe variants.
What this means for cruisers:
In short, easing testing policies is a huge win for cruisers with; less hassle, easier boarding, more freedom onboard and increased accessibility.
Allowing unvaccinated guests to cruise with a pre-boarding negative Covid test will open cruising to this segment of the population that had not been available during Covid.
While it is unsure right now if testing will totally go away, the anticipation that more easing and leniency will continue as the major cruise lines all tend to work together in unison with similar health policies.
Protocols and policies vary by country with some European countries offering the most liberal restrictions so far. Below are some of the highlights of the major cruise lines that have announced new policies for sailings originating from the USA. Click on the links for more information and always contact the cruise line directly or a professional travel advisor who specialize in cruises for detailed questions.
Ocean Cruise Lines with updated policies for cruises originating from the USA:
Azamara Cruise Lines - Beginning July 25, the upmarket cruise line will no longer require pre-cruise COVID-19 -testing for guests, excluding ports where pre-travel testing is still needed. To ensure the health and safety of its guests and crew, Azamara will still require proof of vaccination prior to embarkation.
Carnival Cruise Lines – Starting August 04, 2022, Except where destination requirements differ, effective with sailings departing August 4, 2022, there will be no pre-cruise testing for fully vaccinated guests booked on certain cruises with itineraries 5 days or less.
Celebrity Cruise Lines – Starting with August 8, 2022, U.S. departures, our protocols will include requiring testing for unvaccinated guests on all sailings, and for vaccinated guests on sailings that are six nights or longer. Maintaining a high percentage of fully vaccinated guests onboard all our sailings, far above the general population. All crew will continue to be fully vaccinated and boosted when eligible and tested regularly.
Royal Caribbean - Starting with August 8, 2022, departures, our protocols will include requiring testing for unvaccinated guests on all sailings, and for vaccinated guests on sailings that are six nights or longer. Maintaining a high percentage of fully vaccinated guests onboard all our sailings, far above the general population. All crew will continue to be fully vaccinated and boosted when eligible and tested regularly.
Virgin Voyages - Key changes to know now; removing the requirement for a COVID-19 test to board as of 7/24/22 (for Valiant Lady) and 7/27/22 (for Scarlet Lady). Virgin still requires the majority (90%) of Sailors be vaccinated. Opening up our voyages for a limited number (10%) of unvaccinated Sailors. All Crew will still be fully vaccinated.
Reach out with any questions anytime and stay tuned for additional information as more cruise lines shift and restructure their healthy sailing policies.
More information on:
Ocean Cruising & Ports of Call
Share the knowledge
Notes from your travel advisor... more about Dan