Virgin Opens A Door For Royal Carnival Norwegian
Every other cruise line has a tough decision to make. Some of its current passengers have chosen to sail because every adult onboard has been tested and vaccinated. That creates a peace of mind you don’t get on other types of vacations.
There are, of course, also some passengers who have not sailed because they are not vaccinated or don’t care to share their vaccination status with a cruise line. The question for Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian becomes which changes will lead to the most passengers on their ships?
Virgin does not allow children on its ships, so it was sailing with 100% vaccination rates. If Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian allow for unvaccinated adults but keep the 90% vaccinated number that could limit how many families can book cruises on those lines, which are marketed as family cruise lines.
This isn’t an easy decision, because it’s partially about people’s health and partially about keeping your business healthy. In addition, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian sail to a lot more ports than Virgin Voyages does, and cruise ships must also comply with local rules (and some destinations require vaccinations for anyone ages 12 and over even if they don’t get off the ship.
Cruising With Unvaccinated Kids
Children may or may not be able to cruise, depending on the ship. Norwegian Cruise Line doesn’t allow children under the age of 5 to cruise, for example, because they can’t get vaccinated yet. In the specific event that you have a child turning 5 during the voyage, check in with your cruise line before buying a ticket.
Looking for a family cruise on Disney’s cruise line? Disney Cruise Line became the first cruise line to require passengers as young as 5 to be vaccinated for sailings starting Jan. 13.
While other cruise lines may not officially require vaccinations for kids that young yet, they may in the future. If you’re not comfortable vaccinating your child under 12, hold off on buying them a ticket or get confirmation on a timeline for requirements from your desired cruise line. Remember: Vaccine exemptions and refunds are not guaranteed.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
Get the CNET Now newsletter
Before You Go On A Cruise
If you decide to take a cruise, there are some important facts you should consider.
- Complete your COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional doses as recommended in Canada, at least 14 days before your cruise begins to reduce the risk of developing severe disease from COVID-19 while you travel.
- Choose cruises and excursions that require proof of vaccination and cruises that have enhanced COVID-19 protocols.
- Buy travel health insurance before leaving and make sure you are covered for COVID-19-related medical expenses, trip cancellation, trip interruption, including if you test positive for COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight home. The Government of Canada is not responsible for changes to your travel plans.
Read Also: Why Disney Cruises Are The Best
Sailing Virgin Voyages Without The Vaccine*
Until recently, Virgin Voyages had a simple policy. As an adults-only cruise line, Virgin required everyone on the ship to be vaccinated. Now that policy has changed to 90% of passengers, allowing 10% of those onboard to sail unvaccinated with an exemption.
Passengers can call the cruise line at 954-488-2955 to ask about sailing without having the shot. There is no mention of needing a reason to be eligible for an exemption.
Unvaccinated Adults And Vaccine Exemptions
Most major cruise lines require proof of vaccination for all passengers age 12 and up, and some require them for kids as young as 5 years old . Last week, Disney Cruise Line became the first cruise line to require passengers as young as 5 to be vaccinated for sailings starting Jan. 13.
While some cruise lines state they’ll accept medical exemptions, others do not, and it also might depend on the port. Carnival, for example, says it’ll accept some vaccine exemptions from those ages 12 and younger, as well as adults who have “” that they can’t be vaccinated — but only at their Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina and Alabama ports until the end of March 2022. COVID-19 vaccine exemptions at Carnival’s Long Beach, California port will only be accepted for kids under age 12 and when “required by US federal law” due to religious beliefs or medical reasons.
How long will the vaccine requirement be in place for cruise passengers? That’s hard to say because it depends on the state of the pandemic at any given time. It also varies based on different rules for cruise ships or territories, and evolving guidance from the CDC.
The testing and masking requirement specifics may differ by cruise or length of sail, but everyone age 2 and older should be prepared to be tested for COVID-19 before boarding, or during the journey when applicable, regardless of vaccination status.
Don’t Miss: Royal Caribbean Cruise Credit Card
Royal Caribbean Changes Its Vaccine Requirement
During much of the pandemic era, since cruising from U.S. ports returned in July 2021, all passengers ages 12 and over had to prove they had been fully vaccinated at least two weeks before sailing. Now, the cruise line has made a pretty major change and President Michael Bayley shared the news on social, which was first reported by the Royal Caribbean Blog .
“Unvaccinated guests will be required to take one test within 3 days of departure. We will also continue to operate highly vaccinated cruises with a vaccinated population greater than society and which continues to exempt kids 12 and under and we will welcome unvaccinated guests over 12 and guests with a certificate of recovery within 90 days to travel keeping in mind our ships will typically sail with with 80 percent plus vaccinated guests onboard,” he shared.
That’s a lower threshold than the 90% vaccinated Virgin will sail with, but Royal Caribbean has always had around 90% vaccinated on its ships because it allows kids under the age of 12 to not be vaccinated. Bayley did not share how the cruise line would allot the slots for unvaccinated passengers.
The cruise line has dropped all pre-cruise testing for sailings less than 6 nights. In all cases, the protocols may vary on a particular sailing if the destination has different rules than the cruise line. It’s also possible that destinations could choose to not allow unvaccinated passengers off the ship or require all visitors to wear masks in some situations.
What Kind Of Covid
Cruise lines still set criteria for the tests they accept. Carnival, for instance, requires a “lab-administered or supervised self-administered” PCR or antigen test, per its website, and MSC has similar requirements.
Norwegian Cruise Line also requires an NAAT or antigen test “administered by a verified third party,” according to its website, as well as the additional antigen testing for unvaccinated children. The type of test travelers take can also impact how long they have to test before boarding, so be sure to check the cruise line’s rules.
First-time cruisers:3 things to know before stepping foot on the ship
Don’t Miss: What Is Included In Cruise Price
Which Cruise Lines Accept Passengers Who Havent Been Vaccinated
A-Rosa River Cruises* was the first line to relax the health measures for passengers. On June 7 the company removed the need for guests to provide proof of vaccination, recovery, or a certified negative test result before embarking on its fleet of European ships.
The line also removed the mask-wearing rule for passengers, and the requirement for rapid antigen testing before boarding the ship in May.
The only exception to the latest move will be for passengers sailing on A-Rosa ALVA on the Douro in Portugal. Due to regional regulations, passengers over the age of 12 continue to require proof of complete vaccination or recovery from Covid in order to join the cruise. Additionally, the requirement to wear face masks when moving around on the ship, and rapid antigen testing prior to boarding, remains in place.
Measures such as extended cleaning and disinfection protocols across the fleet will remain in place to ensure hygiene standards are upheld.
A spokesman for the line said: As always, the wellbeing and health of all guests and crew members remains a top priority and the care team will continue to monitor the situation and, if necessary, will adjust and adapt the protocols accordingly if required.
Several cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises*, Cunard*, Disney Cruise Line, and Holland America Line*, will accept unvaccinated children. There is an age limit for this, which varies from line to line and port to port.
Major Cruise Line Drops Vaccine Requirement From Us Ports
- Publish date: Jul 22, 2022 5:26 PM EDT
As the cruise industry has made its way back from its covid-related March 2020 through July 2021 closure, a lot of people have put off cruising until it returned to “normal.” That’s a relative word, however, as your normal and my normal may not be the same.
Some people waited to cruise until masks were no longer required while others won’t step onboard until every covid-related protocol goes away. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control stopped tracking the presence of covid on ships and issued a new set of guidelines for the cruise industry. These included recommendations that ships continue to require pre-cruise testing and for passengers to be vaccinated.
Here’s what the CDC currently recommends when it comes to vaccines.
“CDC recommends all eligible travelers be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines. In addition to the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide to individual travelers in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19, having a high proportion of travelers on board who are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines reduces the likelihood that cruise ships medical centers are overwhelmed by cases of COVID-19.”
The guidance also makes it clear that 90% is what a “high proportion” of travelers means. That number has come down from 95% and it was generally believed to be a number to account for kids too young to get vaccinated to be onboard.
Don’t Miss: What Princess Cruise Ships Go To Alaska
Sailing Celebrity Without The Vaccine
Celebrity currently says that it operates cruises with crew and guest vaccination rates approaching 100%.
For cruises from the U.S., the cruise line currently requires that All guests who are eligible to be vaccinated must be fully vaccinated with all initial doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. As of May 5, 2022, this will include all guests 12 years of age and older on all Celebrity Cruises sailings.
So kids under 12 do not need to be vaccinated, however, adults do need to have the shot.
What To Know Before You Cruise
Vaccine and pretrip testing requirements can be confusing, especially if you are cruising internationally. Cruise lines have their own rules countries have their own rules. And the rules are constantly changing.
Before your trip, you will need to review your cruise lines health and safety protocols. In most cases, you will be expected to arrive at your ship with a negative COVID test resulteither a PCR test or tele-health-monitored antigen test, paid for by you. The cruise line may also require a test at the pier, paid for by the cruise line.
Unvaccinated children have more stringent requirements that may include a series of tests both precruise and on the ship.
You May Like: What Is Included In Viking River Cruises
Accepted Types Of Tests
- Detection of the S gene
- Detection of the E gene
- Detection of the RdRp gene
Your antigen test must be administered or observed by a laboratory or testing provider.
Phrases indicating a test is an antigen test could include, but is not limited to:
- rapid antigen test
- diagnostic immunoassay
- lateral flow test
- also could be noted as an Antigen Chromatographic Digital Immunoassay, Antigen Chemiluminescence Immunoassay, or Antigen Lateral Flow Fluorescence
Sailing Norwegian Cruise Line Without The Vaccine
At this time, Norwegian Cruise Line does not allow passengers 12 years and older to sail on its ships without being vaccinated. However, children 11 and under do not need to have the vaccine to cruise.
All guests age twelve and over, as well as all crew, must be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to departure in order to board. While we welcome unvaccinated children under the age of 12 onboard, it is the responsibility of the guest to be aware of any local protocols and/or travel restrictions in place at the visiting destinations at the time of sailing.
Read Also: What Is The Top Rated Cruise Line
Cdc Stops Monitoring Covid
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has discontinued a program that tracked cases of COVID-19 aboard cruise ships in the U.S. and reported the findings to the public.
The initiative, called the COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, ended Monday, according to the government agency.
“CDC will continue to publish guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for passengers, crew and communities going forward,” the agency said on its website.
For two years, the CDC actively monitored COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships, using a color-coded chart to show different levels of transmission. Cruise lines that opted into the program agreed to follow all of the agency’s recommendations and guidance.
Some of the earliest COVID-19 outbreaks took place on cruise ships, where cases spread rapidly among passengers confined to the vessels. Cruise lines were also among the most severely affected businesses during the pandemic, especially before vaccines existed, when social distancing was the main measure used to contain the virus.
The number of people booking cruises plummeted over the past two years. In 2020 and 2021, cruise companies lost a collective $63 billion and shed thousands of jobs, according to industry data.
Sailing Disney Without The Vaccine
While most cruise lines allow kids under 12 to sail unvaccinated, Disney known for being a family focused line requires kids aged 5 and older to be vaccinated in order to sail.
Currently, Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , at the time of sailing. This is a requirement for all Guests ages 5 and older.
There is no exemption policy mentioned for children or adults.
You May Like: What Is The Best Month To Cruise The Danube
Virgin Voyages Welcomes Unvaccinated Passengers
The three major cruise lines sailing from U.S. ports — Royal Caribbean International – Get Royal Caribbean Group Report, 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.
Cruise Without The Vaccine: Lines You Can Sail Without The Shot
Can you cruise without having a vaccine?
While it is far easier and safer to simply get the shot to sail, if youre one of the holdouts, then there is some good news. Yes, there are ways you can take a cruise, even if you are unvaccinated.
The catch? Its more difficult to sail without the shot and space for unvaccinated passengers is limited. So if you want to sail a particular cruise line or a specific trip, its possible that you might not be able to do so. When you are vaccinated, you can cruise any line at any time.
Even so, if youre wanting to take a cruise but dont want to be vaccinated, there are ways to get on the ship. Weve covered how you can sail for all the cruise lines below
In This Article…
You May Like: Is There Wifi On Cruise Ships
No Testing Required For Some Passengers
In an update to his Facebook page, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald has shared a letter from Christine Duffy, president of the line. The letter has also been sent to booked Carnival guests and shared with travel partners.
We are pleased to share that our COVID protocols continue to evolve,Duffy said.Effective August 8, 2022, guests should be guided by the following COVID-19 testing requirements related to cruises visiting The Bahamas.
On cruises 5 nights or less, vaccinated passengers do not need to present a pre-cruise COVID-19 test result of any kind. This is a change from the clarification Carnival Cruise Line provided just three days ago.
Unvaccinated passengers, however, must still show a negative test result to be permitted to sail, even on shorter sailings. This may be either a supervised PCR or antigen test, and it may be taken up to three days before embarkation.
All guests age 2 and older regardless of vaccination status must present a negative test result for any Carnival cruise, to The Bahamas or any other destination, if the sailing is 6 nights or longer.
As with all of Carnivals health and safety protocols, these requirements can and likely will continue to evolve, and the cruise line remains in contact with its destination ports to ensure compliance with all local protocols.
We remain, as always, committed to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve,the message concludes.
Royal Caribbean Wont Require Us Cruise Passengers To Get Vaccinated
- Taylor DolvenMiami Herald
MIAMI Royal Caribbean International will no longer require any of its cruise passengers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as it had previously planned to.
In a press release Friday announcing cruises for sale on eight of its ships from U.S. ports this summer, starting with Freedom of the Seas from PortMiami on July 2, the company said it will recommend passengers get the COVID-19 vaccine, but not require it. The announcement is a reversal from previous statements andvaccine protocols the company submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month that said it would require all passengers at least 18 years old and older to be vaccinated.
Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible, the company said in a statement. 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.
Lyan Sierra-Caro, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean International, said the plans to require passengers be vaccinated that the company submitted to the CDC only applied to its test cruises. According to CDC rules, cruise ships that dont meet certain vaccination thresholds for passengers and crew must first do a successful test cruise before they can restart revenue cruises.
Recommended Reading: How To Book Flight And Cruise Together