Tuesday, September 27, 2022

What Cruises Do Not Require Vaccine

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Shore Excursions In Canada During The Cruise

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  • there is no arrival testing for passengers entering Canada for shore excursions
  • you may be asked to show your ArriveCAN receipt from your initial embarkation
    • you wont have to resubmit ArriveCAN
  • if you arent fully vaccinated due to medical reasons, youre allowed to join a shore excursion. You must have proof of a valid medical contraindication and a valid ArriveCAN submission.
  • if you arent fully vaccinated due to a sincerely-held religious belief, you arent allowed to disembark the ship in Canada except in a medical emergency.

All travellers are required to take a pre-embarkation COVID-19 test before embarking on a cruise in Canada, even if the cruise ship is not leaving Canadian waters

Travellers who are staying within Canada throughout their entire journey or who are leaving Canada and not returning dont have to complete ArriveCAN.

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.

Too Close To The Elevators

Choosing a cabin close to the elevators might seem like a great idea after all, you wont need to walk very far up or down the long hallways to snag an elevator.

Think again! Elevators are typically places of congregation for people. Starting early in the morning, dont be surprised to probably hear people talking while waiting for the elevator. Late in the evening, you can also hear people coming back to their cabin after a night of partying! Not to mention the elevator ding every time someone presses the buttons.

You should also consider that people will always be walking by your room during all hours of the day when you are close to the elevators.

Try to choose a cabin thats further down from the elevators to avoid unnecessary noise and traffic near your cabin.

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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.

More Changes On The Way

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Carnival also said in its announcement that this is just a starting step in the relaxation of Covid rules for passengers to sail:

We remain, as always, committed to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve. These changes will be made in phases, with the first of these updates effective on Thursday, August 4, 2022 and focused on short cruise itineraries of 5 nights or less.

More changes will be announced shortly and all changes are subject to any requirements of destinations on the itinerary.

So what might these other changes be? Obviously there could be further removal of testing rules for longer cruises, but we also recently questioned whether a removal or relaxation of vaccine rules might be on the table in cruising. For example, Royal Caribbean recently stated that it was transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us

Carnivals statement of more changes to be announced certainly catches our attention.

The cruise line currently requires passengers 12 years and older to be vaccinated to sail. However, they do allow a small percentage of passengers to receive an exemption in order to cruise. This includes children 5-11 and teens/adults with a medical reason to prevent taking the vaccine.

With the trend toward easing restrictions in day-to-day life, as well as comments from the major cruise lines as they relax testing rules, its certainly something to watch.

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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.

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.

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What If I Have A Certificate Of Recovery

Some countries issue “certificates of recovery” if someone has been infected with COVID-19 and recovered, issuing a certificate that proves a positive COVID-19 test and recovery, instead of vaccination as someone’s proof of immunity. The European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate, for example, includes certification of recovery from COVID-19.

For guests departing outside of the US who are cruising with Royal Caribbean, they may present a certificate of recovery. If you’re not in the US and have a certificate of recovery, contact your desired cruise line before purchasing the cruise.

The US doesn’t issue certificates of recovery at this time, so telling the cruise line you already had COVID-19 won’t get you a vaccine exemption.

Boarding Cruises And Shore Excursions

VERIFY: Do cruise passengers have to show proof of vaccination?

Some requirements for boarding a cruise, either at the beginning of the cruise or as part of a shore excursion, may be different depending on where you are boarding and which countries your ship will visit.

Mandatory requirements for all travellers, including Canadians, include pre-embarkation testing and can include ArriveCAN if your ship is coming to or returning to Canada.

Choose the scenario below that best fits your cruise plans:

These requirements apply to cruises:

  • arriving in Canada from a foreign country
  • starting in Canada, but travelling outside Canadian waters and then returning to Canada

All travellers are required to:

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Travel Health Insurance And Evacuation Insurance

You should check with your regular health insurance company to see if your policy will cover any medical care you might need in another country or on board the ship. If not, you can purchase travel health insurance to cover you during your trip.

Also, look for gaps in your insurance coverage. For example, your health insurance might not cover medical evacuation if you cannot receive needed treatment where you are. Evacuation by air ambulance can cost $50,000$100,000 and must be paid in advance by people who do not have insurance. You can buy medical evacuation insurance to be sure you will have access to emergency care. See more information on travel health insurance.

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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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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.

Find out more: Grand Circle Cruise Line

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Where Do the Major Three Cruise Lines Stand on Vaccine Requirements?

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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When Your Cruise Ends

  • If youre symptomatic at final disembarkation, a Quarantine Officer may require you to isolate.
  • If you take a test after your cruise ends in Canada , and the test result is positive, you will be required to follow the requirements of the local public health authority, which may include isolation. Plan to have enough funds to cover the costs of a suitable place to isolate, food, and any medical bills.
  • A positive test, including a recent positive within the last 10 days, may prevent you from boarding a flight departing Canada, or being able to take other public transit.

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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Sailing Royal Caribbean Without The Vaccine

For cruises departing the United States, Royal Caribbean says that all guests 12 and older must have the shot.

All Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing. Kids age 11 or younger who have been vaccinated may present proof of full vaccination and follow the protocols for vaccinated guests. While we do not require kids 11 or younger than to be vaccinated, many are and it is highly likely destinations will begin to require guests age 5 and older to be vaccinated.

There is no mention of adults being able to sail with an exemption to having the shot.

You can view Royal Caribbeans latest policies here.

A Major Change In Policy

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Allowing unvaccinated passengers on ships is a big change, as this segment of the population has been left out of the cruise industry restart until now.

Ever since cruises restarted in the United States in 2021, all cruise lines have required anyone eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine to be vaccinated in order to sail on a cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean is the second line to change its policy, following Virgin Voyages announcement last week that it would allow up to 10% of passengers on any given sailing to be unvaccinated for Covid-19.

In a statement to investors on Thursday, Royal Caribbean Group CEO Jason Liberty said the change is a move to be more like other forms of leisure travel, such as theme parks, casinos, or air travel.

“We are continuing to adapt our protocols to align more closely with how the rest of society and other travel and leisure businesses are operating.”

“This means that we’re transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us while always working with our destination partners to meet their regulations.”

Mr. Liberty told investors during an earnings call on July 28th that the close work between the cruise industry and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed this progression in policy to occur.

“The other major milestone for the group, and the industry, is related to the CDC ending its program for cruise ships, as we are now transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us.”

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Celebrity Cruises Drops Some Vaccination Requirements For European Sailings

Guests under 18 no longer need to be vaccinated for European sailings with Celebrity Cruises, but what does this mean for other requirements?

Family cruises will be a bit easier in Europe now as Celebrity Cruises has become the first line to drop the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for guests under the age of 18.

Guests of any age who are unvaccinated may also now either arrange a pre-cruise test within one day of sailing and bring their negative results to embarkation, or may be tested directly at the terminal.

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 .

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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.

You can view NCLs latest policies here.

Too Far Forward Or Aft

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Just like my Hawaii cabin, choosing a stateroom that’s too far forward or aft can be a bad choice. If you encounter rough seas, this can mean you will experience and feel more of the ship’s pitching and rolling. Definitely not good for cruisers that are worried about getting motion sickness.

You might get lucky with very smooth sailing during your voyage. For instance, I’ve sailed the Mediterranean multiple times and never had rough seas. I would probable be more comfortable with a cabin that’s slightly more forward or aft in this instance.

Sailing on open ocean is usually a different story. This can sometimes mean rougher seas, so I will always book a mid-ship room.

Never again will I book a cabin that is at the very front of the ship!

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