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Four Cruise Lines To Drop Covid Vaccination Requirements

Norwegian Cruise Line takes Florida to court over vaccine mandate ban

Aug. 14, 2022 — Four major cruise lines are dropping their COVID-19 vaccination requirements for some sailings next month, according to USA Today.

Carnival Cruise Line wonât require unvaccinated guests to apply for an exemption to sail after Sept. 6. The changes are subject to local restrictions, such as those in Bermuda, Canada and Greece, and donât include voyages in Australia or trips that are 16 or more nights.

Princess Cruises will remove vaccination requirements on Sept. 6 for most voyages that are less than 16 days. The cruise line currently requires unvaccinated guests to have a vaccine exemption before they sail.

Royal Caribbean Group, which includes Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, will welcome all travelers regardless of vaccination status beginning Sept. 5 âas long as testing requirements are met,â a spokesperson told USA Today.

For Royal Caribbean, the changes include sailings from Los Angeles, New Orleans, Galveston and Europe. For Celebrity, that means cruises leaving from Los Angeles, the U.K. and Europe â but not Ireland. Bahamas and Caribbean cruises that leave from Florida ports still have vaccine rules in place.

Starting Sept. 6, Princess Cruises will require passengers on sailings of 16 nights or longer to take a test within three days of leaving, as well as those on full Panama Canal transits. Unvaccinated passengers will be required to show a negative test for all trips.

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What If I Can’t Get A Signed Child Travel Consent Form

The biggest concern we see on Cruise Critic’s message boards are from parents who need a notarized consent letter for children traveling abroad but their child’s other parent is deceased, completely out of the picture and unreachable, unwilling to cooperate or an anonymous sperm donor.

If the child’s other parent is deceased, a copy of the birth certificate and a copy of a death certificate should be sufficient. If you have legally acquired sole custody of your child, then a legal document stating that will need to be provided. If you’re a single parent by choice, a copy of your child’s birth certificate showing only one parent’s name on it is acceptable as proof.

If the other spouse is refusing to cooperate, or you don’t know how to get in touch but don’t have sole custody, you might need to go to family court to get the legal documentation necessary to travel. As every case is different, you’ll want to talk to a lawyer to determine what steps you need to take.

American Queen Steamboat Company

Who Needs to Be Vaccinated: All passengers, no exceptions, need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Are Any Unvaccinated Passengers Able to Sail? No.

Is A Pre-Arrival COVID-19 Test Required? All passengers will undergo a complimentary COVID-19 test during the pre-cruise hotel stay prior to embarkation.

Is A Pierside, Pre-Embarkation COVID-19 Test Required? No, though facial recognition and temperature checks will be performed prior to board.

Masks and Physical Distancing Requirements: Masks are not required.

Crew Vaccinated?: Yes — American Queen is even vaccinating its shoreside employees.

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Vaccines Masks And Testing: What Cruise Lines Require Now

As the cruise industry resumes operations around the world, lines have introduced mandates that require some, or all, passengers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and that can include children, as well.

But not all cruise lines have the same policies and cruise requirements vary from port to port, ship to ship, itinerary to itinerary, country to country and state to state. To complicate things even more, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on July 18 that it was dropping its blanket COVID-19 requirements for cruise lines. That means that lines will have more leeway than ever to come up with their own policies.

Additionally, many cruise lines are beginning to modify testing requirements on short, U.S.-based departures, as of August 2022.

Here is a list of all the cruise lines that require proof of vaccination before cruising — and what you need to know in order to be able to board without a hitch .

These requirements can make things difficult for families traveling together .

Also worth noting: these requirements, particularly in terms of vaccines that are accepted and required antigen and PCR testing, can — and do — change regularly. Check with your cruise line frequently to ensure you meet all the current requirements for embarkation, as their information may be updated sooner than our guide.

What Does ‘fully Vaccinated’ Mean

Royal Caribbean wont require vaccinations on U.S. cruises, except in ...

It seems most cruise lines are following the CDC’s definition of fully vaccinated, which means two weeks have passed since your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or since your one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. It’s possible a cruise line may accept one shot of a viral vector vaccine, such as AstraZeneca, and one shot of an mRNA vaccine, but this practice of mixing for a COVID-19 vaccine primary series isn’t authorized yet in the US.

Some cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, accept vaccines recommended or approved by the World Health Organization as well as the CDC. This includes vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Sinovac. See the full list of vaccines approved by the WHO here.

Bottom line: If you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of the US, check with your cruise line to make sure they accept your vaccine before putting any money down. It’s also important to know that while all adults in the US are now eligible for boosters, the definition of “fully vaccinated” hasn’t changed and you don’t need an extra shot to be considered fully vaccinated.

All guests, regardless of vaccination status, should expect to be tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding a cruise ship.

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Cruise Lines Say Guests With Mixed Vaccines Arent Fully Vaccinated

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Adding another layer of confusion to the question of who can sail and under what restrictions, several cruise lines have decided that guests who received two different vaccine types will not be considered fully vaccinated.

Late last week, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, and Princess Cruises all adjusted policies on the eligibility of mixed dose vaccinations. Royal Caribbean International followed, but later did an about-face, removing the language from its website.

The policy changes came in the wake of a World Health Organization warning that mixing vaccines could be dangerous due to a lack of data on the ramifications of the practice.

READ MORE: Court Rules CDCs Cruise Line Regulations Will Remain In Effect, Including In Florida

Its a little bit of a dangerous trend here, said the WHOs chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan last week. Were in a data-free, evidence-free zone here. There is limited data on mix-and-match.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states that COVID-19 vaccines should not be mixed until more is known.

Norwegian Cruise Line Vaccine Policy

Starting September 3, 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line no longer requires passengers to be vaccinated to sail.

After that date, all passengers under 12 years and younger will be free to sail without needing a vaccine or requiring a test before boarding. In other words, it will be just as it was before the pandemic for kids

Passengers over 12 years old will no longer require a Covid test to cruise if they are vaccinated. If unvaccinated, passengers are now able to still cruise but must have a negative test taking within 72 hours of embarkation.

Note that there are still vaccine/testing requirements from ports including Greece, Canada, and Bermuda.

You can view NCL’s latest policies here.

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What Happens If I Don’t Have The Appropriate Letter Of Consent

If you are asked by airport or border officials for specific paperwork and you don’t have it, you can be denied boarding or entrance into the foreign country until you produce it. Therefore, it’s always best to take the time to acquire the documentation you might need, even if no one asks, than to skip it and find yourself making frantic last-minute arrangements or having to cancel your trip once you’ve gotten as far as the airport.

The same principle applies for your cruise. If a birth certificate or passport is required, and you do not bring the appropriate I.D., you can be prevented from boarding your ship.

As Cruise Lines Drop Vaccine And Testing Rules Companies Are Seeing A Huge Spike In Bookings

Norwegian Cruise Line can require proof of vaccination after ruling

Cruise business has been brisk this year at Danny Genungs travel agency, but its been supercharged since cruise lines started easing testing and vaccine requirements in the past couple of weeks.

Weve seen a huge spike in bookings, like a massive spike in bookings, the Harr Travel CEO said. And a lot of them are people that we worked with before the pandemic. … They always wanted to book, but they knew they couldnt because they were unvaccinated.

Vaccine rules were key to the U.S. cruise comeback in summer 2021, under strict rules handed down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unvaccinated travelers needed a hard-to-get exemption to sail, if they were allowed at all, and everyone but young children was required to show proof of a negative test.

The CDC dropped its cruise covid-19 reporting program last month, prompting cruise lines to announce they would loosen testing requirements for vaccinated passengers and in most cases allow large numbers of guests who have not been vaccinated, as long as they showed proof of a negative tests. Lines had dropped mask mandates months earlier. Vaccine rules still apply in destinations that require them, and some operators are dropping their rules more gradually than others.

Cruise lines say the new relaxed rules will let them reach the segment of cruisers that were still off-limits as they rebuild their business.

Also Check: What Does Oceania Cruises Include

Which Vaccines Are Accepted To Cruise

There are a number of vaccines available around the world. While each cruise line might accept different ones, the major vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca — all seem to have wide acceptance. If you have received one of these shots, then you should be good to go. However, your cruise line will have more details about which specific shots they accept.

If you don’t have the shot, then cruise lines are easing rules in that you don’t have to be vaccinated to sail in many cases.

Many Cruise Lines Have Rolled Back Testing Rules

Royal Caribbean Group, parent company of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity, also rolled back its testing requirements this month, following the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. The company requires vaccinated passengers to take a test only on sailings six nights or longer, but testing is still required for unvaccinated passengers on all sailings.

Many other cruise line operators and brands made similar protocol changes, including Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.

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Carnival Cruise Line Vaccine Policy

Carnival will now allow all passengers — including those who are unvaccinated — to sail freely as of September 6, 2022. This simplifies the requirements to sail.

First and foremost, unvaccinated passengers of any age are allowed to sail the cruise line without having to first apply for an exemption as was previously required. However, before they cruise, those without the shot will need to have a negative test taken within three days of cruising .

There are a few exceptions. Cruises from Australia — or those 16 nights or longer — do still require a passenger be vaccinated to sail.

Vaccinated passengers don’t need to test unless visiting Canada, Bermuda, Greece or Australia and on trips of 16 nights or longer.

You can view Carnival’s latest policies here.

Msc Cruises Vaccine Policy

Royal Caribbean reverses vaccination mandate for passengers on cruises ...

MSC is a popular choice for passengers looking for relatively affordable fares. The cruise line has a limited — but growing — presence in the U.S., with cruises from Florida and New York.

MSC’s policy toward vaccination for sailing from the United States is that while kids under 12 years old are allowed to sail unvaccinated, those older than that must have the shot.

However, the cruise line did recently relax testing requirements for vaccinated passengers, with a reference that vaccine rules could also drop sometime in the future:

“MSC Cruises will continue to monitor pandemic conditions and port requirements outside of the U.S., with a goal to relax testing and vaccination protocols to open cruising to all guests, while prioritizing the health and safety of its guests, crew and destinations.”

You can view MSC’s latest policies here.

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Inc

The three cruise lines under NCLH have also made amendments to their testing and vaccination policies.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced a large easing of vaccination requirements, effective August 11: all guests 12 and up will be required to either provide proof of full vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test result.

There will be, of course, some itineraries with different rules, due to specific destinations requirements, like Greece, Canada and Bermuda, which continue to require fully vaccinated guests.

Beginning September 3, Oceania Cruises will no longer require vaccinated travelers to test prior to embarkation. Unvaccinated travelers will be able to sail with a recently administered negative COVID-19 test result, with some exclusions.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises will also amend its testing and vaccination requirements beginning September 3. Fully vaccinated guests will no longer need to provide negative COVID-19 tests, while unvaccinated guests will be allowed onboard provided they test negative ahead of embarkation .

Travelers will also undergo a pre-embarkation health screening.

Not All Destinations Ready To Drop Requirements

While Celebrity Cruises and, earlier today, Royal Caribbean International, have dropped most requirements for cruises from many different destinations, not all cruise destinations are ready to let go just yet.

Sailings to and from ports in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand require all guests ages 12 and up to be fully vaccinated to sail in keeping with country requirements.

For expedition cruises to the Galapagos Islands, the Ecuadorian authorities require even stricter measures, where guests ages three and older are to be fully vaccinated.

Read Also: Popular Caribbean Cruise Destination Drops All Travel Requirements

Guests should keep an eye on the specific requirements for each country, which can be found on the cruise lines websites. Celebrity cruises are now operating all of its 15 cruise ships from the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, and the Galapagos Islands.

The cruise line will return to Australia and New Zealand on October 12 with a 12-night cruise onboard Celebrity Eclipse from Sydney, Australia. This grand exploration of the beautiful New Zealand coast will include visits to Dunedin, Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Tauranga, and more.

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Do I Need A Vaccine To Cruise Policies For Major Cruise Lines

Do I need a vaccine to cruise? Thats been one of the biggest questions in a return to sailing.

And the good news for many people? The restrictions requiring vaccines are dropping quickly.

As the United States has opened up again following the worst of the pandemic, many people have returned to a normal way of life. That includes things like visiting restaurants or movie theaters, going to a sporting event, and of course, travel.

The good news is that given the vaccines, a milder variant, and prior cases, the amount of serious illness seems lower. As a result, people are able to get back to the things they love and cruises have had a successful restart with millions heading back to sea.

In fact, apart from vaccines and testing, the onboard experience has returned to exactly what it was before the pandemic. Now, a recent shift has led to cruise lines removing those hurdles as well.

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If Cruises Sail With Vaccinated & Unvaccinated Passengers Is Everything Back To Normal

Some cruise lines will not accept passengers with mixed vaccinations

Even before the dropping of vaccine requirements, the passenger experience on the ship was largely back to normal. Now that vaccine requirements are dropping for many lines, you can say that cruising is now like it was before the pandemic.

Want to have a drink at the bar and chat up your fellow passengers? You can do that. Enjoy dinner, shows, the casino, ports of call, and more. While much has changed behind the scenes, the experience on the ship is largely identical to what it was before.

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Judge Blocks Florida Law That Prevents Cruise Lines From Requiring Proof Of Vaccination

MIAMI A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Florida law that prevents cruise lines from requiring passengers to prove theyre vaccinated against COVID-19, saying the law appears unconstitutional and wont likely hold up in court.

The vaccine passport ban signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis fails to protect medical privacy or prevent discrimination against unvaccinated people, but it does appear to violate the First Amendment rights of Norwegian Cruise Lines, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams wrote.

In a nearly 60-page ruling issued late Sunday, the judge said Florida failed to provide a valid evidentiary, factual, or legal predicate for banning requirements that passengers prove theyve been vaccinated. Norwegian has shown that suspending the requirement will jeopardize public health, potentially causing super-spreader events wherever passengers disembark, she wrote.

Florida separately sued the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeking to block federal cruise ship vaccination requirements. The CDC lost on appeal, but then made its guidelines non-binding, and all cruise lines operating in Florida have agreed to keep following the CDCs instructions on a voluntary basis, the judge wrote.

The CDCs current guidelines, in effect until Nov. 1, say cruise lines can sail again with confirmation that at least 95 percent of passengers and crew have been vaccinated, the judge noted.

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