Grand Circle Cruise Line
Where they sail: Grand Circle Cruise Line sails small ships and river cruises all over the world, including an extensive list of European itineraries. The company plans to start sailing again in August, including to Greece, Turkey, and Italy.
Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew are required to be fully vaccinated with the booster shot.
What other safety measures are in place: All ships have been equipped with High Efficiency Particular Air filters and buffets have been eliminated. The cruise line states some itineraries will require proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel, and that instructors will be sent out 30 days prior to travel.
Find out more: Grand Circle Cruise Line
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.
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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Easiest Way To Do A Pre
While many pharmacies and urgent care locations offer covid testing, proctored at-home covid tests are the most convenient option.
Vaccinated passengers can order at-home antigen testing kits that have a video monitoring feature.
You can purchase these tests from eMed or Optum. Make sure the test you are ordering is the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test. A very similar Abbott test does not include proctoring and will not be valid for embarkation.
Not only can you take these tests from your home, you don’t need an appointment and video sessions are available 24/7.
If you prefer an in-person covid test, CVS and Walgreens offer offer drive-thru antigen and PCR testing by appointment.
What Is A Hedge How Does It Work
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.
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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.
Applying For Vaccine Exemptions
If youre part of a group that is typically required to sail with the vaccine then youll likely have to apply for an exemption. After all, if cruise lines want to stay above a certain threshold of vaccinated passengers, then they need to know who is sailing without the shot.
Applying for an exemption isnt hard. For some its an online form that you fill out. Others require you to call the cruise line. But just because you apply for an exemption doesnt automatically mean you qualify. It is possible that you could be denied.
Since some cruise lines operate on a first-come, first-served basis, its a good idea to book and contact the line early if you plan to apply for an exemption.
What To Know In General About Vaccine Rules And Cruising
Before we get into how to sail, there are some general things you should know regarding vaccinations and cruises.
First, in general cruise lines do require most passengers to have the shot. So no matter which line you sail, your fellow passengers will almost all be vaccinated. And before you think this is just the cruise line rules in action, realize that many countries have rules regarding who can visit their country based on vaccine status. That impacts the policies cruise lines put in place.
However, there are some exceptions regarding who has to have the shot.
For one, cruise lines have more relaxed rules for children under 12 years old. Its common across cruise lines to allow passengers under 12 to sail freely without needing vaccination. So if you are sailing with a smaller child that you dont want to be vaccinated, then thats normally not an issue.
In addition, some lines offer exemptions for passengers that are older than 12 that have medical or religious beliefs that prevent being vaccinated. So if you qualify on one of these grounds, its more likely youll be able to sail.
Finally, at this time cruise lines sailing vaccinated cruises typically put the level at 90% of passengers. So while 90% of eligible passengers need the shot, they do allow 10% to sail without. This 10% includes all passengers aged five years old and up .
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Where they sail: Regent Seven Seas offers all-inclusive luxury cruises around the globe, which include perks like free airfare, free excursions, and complimentary unlimited drinks on board. The company is also offering free multi-day land extensions before and after sailings for several cruises leaving between October 2021 and March 2022.
Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. Guests will need to show proof of their physical vaccination card prior to boarding.
What other safety measures are in place: Beginning August 2022 pre-departure testing may not be necessary depending on the port. Currently cruises leaving from the U.S., Canada, or Greece will require a test. Staterooms will be cleaned with “intensive non-toxic microbial disinfection” each day.
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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.
Which Cruises Have Been Cancelled In 2022
Unfortunately, there are still cruises being cancelled in 2022 due to Covid-19 and the uncertainty surrounding it.
The pandemic has not ended, and some sailings have been cancelled due to too many Covid-19 cases onboard. The good news is that there are not the mass cancellations we saw in 2020.
The Omicron and BA 2 variant has added a new level of complexity, as the more easily transmittable mutation has caused there to be higher case counts among passengers and crew members.
Cruise lines are still proceeding with scheduled sailings, but several cruise lines have cancelled sailings when necessary.
Here is a list of which ships and sailings have been cancelled in 2022 due to Covid-19.
May 24, 2022
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Cruise Lines That Dont Require Covid Vaccines
Do you have to be vaccinated to go on a cruise? The short answer is it depends.
The long answer is that vaccine requirements vary by cruise line, cruise ship, and departure port/destination. Currently, due to the rise of the Omicron variant and new restrictions by ports of call, the majority of U.S.-based cruise ships are allowing unvaccinated travelers onboard only if they are too young to be vaccinated or have medical or religious exemptions.
Many U.S.-based cruise lines restarted cruises with mainly vaccinated guests, and the vaccination requirement remains in place for these lines. Some lines have even begun requiring children be vaccinated, such as Disney Cruise Line. Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, allows unvaccinated kids on their ships. However, lines that planned to welcome unvaccinated adults have had to get stricter about vaccine requirements to adhere to new government policies.
Heres the current list of cruise lines that do not require Covid vaccines to sail, for travelers who cannot or choose not to get the shot.
February 17, 2022
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.
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Will Cruise Lines Drop Their Vaccine Requirement
While most cruise lines require adults to be vaccinated right now, unvaccinated readers want to know when the vaccine mandate may go away.
There is no definitive answer as to when a vaccine requirement to go on a cruise ship may go away, but at the very least it stands to reason not until the public health emergency ends. As long as Covid-19 remains a pandemic, it seems unlikely cruise lines will change protocols.
As the threat of Covid-19 begins to diminish, there is a possibility cruise lines may relax health protocols, including allowing unvaccinated people to go on a cruise ship.
For now, none of the cruise lines that have a vaccine requirement have announced any plans to rescind that rule in the future.
Sailing Princess Without The Vaccine*
Princess is among the most lenient when it comes to sailing unvaccinated. They offer the ability to apply for an exemption for any reason . However, it is currently limited to 10% of passengers and on a first-come, first-served basis:
We manage an exemption process for guests who are not vaccinated regardless of the reason, subject to the regulations of the ports we visit. Exemptions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Children under 5 years old are not required to apply for an exemption but must still follow all other requirements for unvaccinated guests. Exemptions can be obtained by calling 1-800-PRINCESS.
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One Final Note About Cruising Unvaccinated
As a reminder, with the CDC lifting its voluntary program, its possible that rules around vaccine requirements could ease in the coming weeks and months. That means if you dont have the shot, then you might have more options to sail in the future.
That said, by far the easiest and healthiest way to take a cruise right now is to simply be vaccinated. It offers you the ability to sail any line at any time, without having to go through an exemption process.
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.
Which Cruise Lines Require That Kids Be Vaccinated
As many cruise lines drop their restriction against unvaccinated kids and begin welcoming them onboard, questions continue to arise on each cruise lines policy concerning whether kids need the vaccine to sail.
Weve put together this list of the major cruise lines in North America and their policies on kids being able to sail with or without the COVID-19 vaccine.
This article was originally published in March 2022. It was updated and republished on June 17, 2022. Check with your cruise line for the latest information.
Former Fda Chief Talks When Vaccine Requirement For Cruise Ships Might End
Currently three of the major cruise lines, Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line require that guests older than five years of age be fully vaccinated in order to cruise. However, as more amenities return to, and reopen, on cruise ships, there are more and more talks on when cruise lines might end their requirement for proof of vaccination.
On these particular cruise lines, passengers are no longer required to wear facial coverings onboard when indoors while being fully vaccinated. The overall feel of a cruise vacation is slowly returning to that of pre-pandemic times.
Guests are additionally required on many cruise lines to provide a negative COVID-19 test in addition to proof of vaccination. Most cruise lines will accept a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken no more than two days before the cruise sailing.
These requirements are likely to change at some point in the future according to Former Food and Drug Administration Chief Scott Gottlieb, I think that it’s likely to be a requirement that is in place through this fall and winter. Im talking more about CDC and the policy environment. I think that the public health officials – CDC – is going to want to see what the epidemiology of this disease is when it gets to a quote, unquote, normal state, Said Gottlieb in a statement.
The former Food and Drug Administration Chief is also a physician who serves as a chairman with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Sail Safe Council.
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