The New Policy Starts Aug 28
Carnival Cruise Line is strengthening its vaccination policy, requiring unvaccinated guests to provide a doctor’s note ahead of embarking on a cruise.
Starting Aug. 28, any unvaccinated adult guests sailing on a Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, or Maryland-based ship who are granted an exemption must show “a letter from a medical provider stating that the individual cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons,” according to Carnival. Unvaccinated children can also provide a birth certificate or passport.
Currently, the cruise line allows unvaccinated passengers who are either under 12 years old or have a medical condition that prohibits them from getting vaccinated. The policy will be in effect through at least October and applies to sailings leaving from the company’s Atlantic and Gulf homeports.
Additionally, unvaccinated guests leaving from Florida or Texas must show proof of travel insurance.
Carnival operates a series of “vaccinated cruises” with at least 95% of guests fully vaccinated. However, the company has made limited “capacity-controlled exemptions.”
The decision was made after the Bahamas said it would implement a vaccine mandate starting Sept. 3, requiring all cruise passengers 12 and older to show proof they are fully vaccinated in order for a ship to dock, including on a cruise line’s private island. The order does not apply to anyone who is ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical reason.
Virgin Voyages Welcomes Unvaccinated Passengers
The three major cruise lines sailing from U.S. ports — Royal Caribbean International , Carnival Cruise Lines CCL, and Norwegian Cruise Line NCLH — still require pre-cruise covid tests taken no more than two days before your cruise and that all guests ages 12-and-over provide proof of vaccination.
Virgin Voyages, a fledgling cruise line sailing one of its two ships, the Scarlet Lady, out of Miami, dropped the pre-cruise testing requirement after the CDC stopped monitoring covid on cruise ships. Now, the cruise brand owned by billionaire Richard Branson has quietly decided to allow some unvaccinated “sailors,” as it calls its passengers, on its upcoming voyages.
The company shared that information in an email that was sent to people booked on upcoming sailings.
“Were still requiring that the majority of Sailors be vaccinated, but were opening up our voyages for a limited number of unvaccinated Sailors to join us. Our Crew will remain fully vaccinated as they are now. As always, your safety is our first priority, so we will continue with our other protocols to keep you well while enjoying your relaxing vacation,” the cruise line shared in the email.
Can I Get A Covid Test At The Embarkation Port From The Cruise Line
Some cruise lines offer covid testing at the terminal as an option, but not all.
In some cases, the testing is only available as a backup option, in case your testing options prior to the sailing fall through. A few will offer testing at the terminal as a primary option.
You’ll need to check with your cruise line as to if they offer any testing at the embarkation port, but you should not count on it being an option.
If you’re travelling internationally for your cruise, you could bring an acceptable at-home Covid test with you, or make an appointment for a test at the airport you fly into.
In nearly all cases, the pre-cruise covid test you take will be your financial responsibility.
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Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
Travelers embarking on any Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours itinerary are required to be fully vaccinated. Guests taking river cruises dont need to adhere to line-specific testing requirements. Guests might be required to take a rapid antigen test upon embarkation for an ocean cruise.
All guests must also complete a pre-travel health questionnaire.
Guide To Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line has been a major cruise line within the industry for over 54 years, founded in 1966. Renowned for its free-style cruising, Norwegian Cruise Lines success is continuing to grow with the addition of Norwegian Prima set for August of this year.
Norwegian Cruise Line is celebrated for its free-style cruising concept, which offers guests great flexibility when planning their trips and vacations, such as no set dining times or location. Norwegian Cruise Line has an impressively large fleet complete with modern and innovative amenities for guests to enjoy.
With the debut of Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Cruise Lines fleet will consist of 18 ships. NCL is set to debut its second ship in the new Prima class in 2023, the Norwegian Viva, bringing the fleet total to 19 ships.
For anyone interested in learning more about Norwegian Cruise Line, read on for our overview of the cruise line. Within this guide readers can find information important to booking a Norwegian Cruise Line vacation, information on exclusive amenities onboard NCL ships, and helpful tips for cruising with Norwegian.
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Can I Get The Shot The Day Before I Sail Or Just One Dose
No. Cruise lines make it clear that passengers must be fully vaccinated. That means having both doses of a two-dose shot 14 days before embarking on the ship. A single shot of the Johnson & Johnson dose is ok, but still requires receiving it well in advance of sailing.
In other words, this is not something you want to put off until the last minute.
What Does ‘fully Vaccinated’ Mean
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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Carnival Cruise Line Now Giving Passengers Up To 3 Days Before Their Cruise To Get Covid
As stated on their website, on May 4th 2022, Carnival Cruise Line updated their testing requirements of COVID-19 for passengers aboard their ships.
The Carnival Cruise Line website now states, except when destination requirements differ, guests who are up to date with their vaccines may take their test within three days prior to sailing. Up to date means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccinations, including any booster dose, when eligible.
If a guest is fully vaccinated but not up to date with their vaccines , they must take their pre-cruise COVID-19 test within two days prior to sailing, states Carnival Cruise Line.
The cruise line has additionally laid out specific requirements on their website for passengers visiting the destinations of either Bermuda or Canada, with Carnival Cruise Line. This is a change from the cruise lines previous testing requirements. Prior to May 4, 2022, the Carnival Cruise Line detailed the following requirements to guests visiting Canada, but have since added these requirements for guests visiting Bermuda.
Fully vaccinated guests traveling to Bermuda and Canada, including those who are up to date with their vaccines, can take either a PCR test between 72 and 24 hours prior to sailing, or an antigen pre-cruise test no earlier than two days prior to sailing, in order to comply with CDC and destination regulations, stated Carnival Cruise Line on their website.
Royal Caribbean Wont Require Covid
Royal Caribbean International has announced it wont require US passengers to get vaccinated to go on several ships set to sail this summer.
The cruise line said that it would only strongly encourage guests to get a COVID-19 shot, despite previously saying that it would be a requirement, the Miami Herald reported.
Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible, the company said in a statement on Friday.
Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date.
The new rules were announced as the company said it will resume cruises on six new ships from US ports this summer, starting with Freedom of the Seas from Miami on July 2.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened to fine cruise lines $5,000 each time they require a guestto show proof of vaccination.
Its unclear whether the change in vaccination in policy is in response to the state ban.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that passengers, crew and port workers receive the jabs.
But the cruise line said it still needs to complete voyages for test cruises before getting approval for the newly announced cruises.
The cruise line will share updates on measures with guests and travel advisors before their departure dates.
Crew members on the ships will still be fully vaccinated, the Washington Post reported.
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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.
If Cruises Sail With Vaccinated & Unvaccinated Passengers Is Everything Back To Normal
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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These 3 Cruise Lines Are No Longer Requiring Covid Tests For Some Passengers
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its voluntary COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, three cruise lines have also ended their pre-cruise requirements for COVID testing prior to boarding for some passengers.
On July 18, the CDC ended its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, which provided recommendations to the cruise industry, including vaccination and COVID testing requirements, saying at the time that cruise lines have the ability to manage their own COVID-19 mitigation programs.
The agency continued by saying that cruise travelers have access to recommendations that allow them to make informed decisions about cruise ship travel but maintained that cruising poses some risk of COVID-19 transmission.
On the heels of the announcement from the CDC, Virgin Voyages, Azamara, and Margaritaville at Sea eliminated the requirements for guests to provide negative COVID tests prior to boarding their cruise ships.
Virgin Voyages no longer requires any passenger boarding its ships to have a negative COVID test, implementing the change for its Valiant Lady ship on Sunday, and for its Scarlet Lady ship on Wednesday.
Virgin said on its website that it will still require 90% of passengers to be vaccinated but it is opening up its sailings for 10% of unvaccinated guests. Boosters are not required by the cruise line, which also said that its crew will still be fully vaccinated.
How Do I Prove That I’m Vaccinated If It’s Required
In many cases even though passengers can now sail without the shot, proof is still needed if you are vaccinated. That’s because passengers with the vaccine often don’t need to test before sailing, while those without it still need to test negative before sailing.
The easiest way to show you’ve been vaccinated is to hang on to the white CDC vaccination card you should have received when you got the shot. We suggest keeping the original in a safe place and also making a copy so that you can always have a version should something happen to the original.
Some cruise lines will accept a digital record of your dose or an image of your shot card. To be sure, however, all cruise lines will accept the paper card, making it the easiest way to prove you’ve had the vaccine.
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Royal Caribbean Vaccine Policy
As of September 5, 2022, Royal Caribbean will no longer require passengers to be vaccinated to sail if departing from ports in California, Louisiana, and Texas. As well, no vaccine will be required if sailing from Europe. No special request or exemption is need to sail unvaccinated.
Cruises from Florida and other ports of departure will still require the shot for those 12 and older in order to sail for the time being. According to Royal Caribbean’s website, the cruise line is “working with local governments in the Eastern Caribbean to align on vaccination requirements for more itineraries.”
As well, even if not required, Royal Caribbean asks that you still bring proof of vaccination to your cruise.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
All guests on all sailings through the end of 2022 with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection are required to be fully vaccinated. Booster shots might also be required for entry into the specific country of embarkation as well as the destinations along the itinerary.
Children who are not old enough to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine must present a negative antigen or PCR test result taken within 72 hours of embarkation.
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Disney Cruise Line Dropping Vaccine Mandate For All Passengers
Disney Cruise Line will soon be dropping its vaccination mandate one of the last large-ship cruise lines to do so. Starting October 14 for Disney Wonder, Dream, Fantasy, and Wish and November 7 for Disney Magic, the line will no longer require that any guests are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of sailing.
All passengers ages five and older who are not fully vaccinated will need to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken one to two days before embarkation day to sail. Kids four and younger do not require testing.
To be exempt from testing requirements, fully vaccinated guests must upload proof of vaccination to the Inspire Diagnostics Safe Passage website no later than midnight prior to embarkation day.
Unvaccinated guests must upload a negative COVID-19 test result to the Inspire Diagnostics Safe Passage website by midnight prior to embarkation day.
For upload, parents or legal guardians will need to use their own account to provide this information on behalf of minors. It does not need to be done for kids four and younger.
Passengers should also bring a copy of their proof of vaccination or negative test result with them to the port, although this isnt required.
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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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Disney Cruise Line Vaccine Policy
Disney is well-known as being a family-friendly cruise line, meaning lots of kids sail. You might think that would mean relaxed restrictions regarding vaccines for kids. Instead, it’s the opposite.
While most cruise lines are dropping vaccine requirements to sail, Disney — known for being a family focused line — is only loosening them for smaller kids. The cruise line did require kids aged 5 and older to be vaccinated in order to sail, but has moved to requiring vaccines for only 12 years and up:
“Beginning September 2, 2022, for sailings departing US and Canadian ports, Disney Cruise Line will require Guests ages 12 and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of sailing, as defined by the CDC. In consideration of CDC guidance, Disney Cruise Line highly recommends that Guests ages 11 and younger be fully vaccinated before sailing.”
There is no exemption policy mentioned for adults.
You can view Disney’s latest policies here.