Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Which Cruise Lines Are Requiring Vaccines

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Vaccination And Mask Zones

Gov. DeSantis To Appeal Preliminary Injunction Allowing Norwegian Cruises To Require Vaccines

Cruises won’t only be available to people who have been vaccinated but you’ll have a much more enjoyable time if you are.

According to CDC rules, ships that have at least 95% of crew and passengers fully vaccinated can use their discretion when it comes to mask rules. Ships that don’t meet those numbers can have designated areas for fully vaccinated passengers where masks and physical distancing are optional.

Royal Caribbean, for example, just released its new health and safety protocols for the July and August sailings from Miami on Freedom of the Seas. The line will designate some bars, lounges, restaurants, and events for vaccinated guests only, with no masks required. In the Main Dining Room, there will be areas for vaccinated guests to dine separately.

Unvaccinated guests will also need to pay for additional Covid testing.

“It’s expected these sentiments will be mirrored for the line’s other ships, particularly the ones sailing from Florida and Texas,”says travel expert Pauline Frommer.

Destinations Itineraries & Shore Excursionssafety Ashore

Strategic Itinerary Development & Shore Partners

We constantly monitor the health environment across the globe and will modify or cancel itineraries to affected areas as needed.

Partners in Prevention

Were partnering with our local destinations and tour operators to extend our comprehensive health & safety protocols to shore.

Beyond the Port

Guests are free to explore ports of call on their own, according to protocols in each specific port, and can purchase shore excursions as they wish. Face coverings may be required in certain settings to comply with local requirements, for example in terminals for embarkation and disembarkation or at ports of call. We will continue to monitor public health guidance, including from the CDC, at the time of your voyage and modify requirements accordingly.

*Due to local government regulations, guests may be required to take a Norwegian Cruise Line shore excursion in select ports. For additional information on this and other destination specific requirements, please visit the Cruise Travel Requirements by Country page.

Passengers Under 5 Will Be Exempt From Vaccine Requirements

The cruise line has also updated its vaccination requirements. According to its website, children under the age of 5 can board if unvaccinated. All other passengers and crew must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure.

Norwegian joins other cruise lines in allowing children of a certain age to board unvaccinated. Disney Cruise Line allows children under 5 to forgo vaccination requirements, while Royal Caribbean requires vaccinations among those 12 and older leaving from U.S. ports.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., the parent company to Norwegian Cruise Line, instituted a 100% vaccination requirement in April 2021. In November, President and CEO Frank Del Rio called the strict vaccination policy a “competitive advantage” to its brands.

Under the new vaccination policy, Norwegian plans to commit to requirements laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and limit the number of unvaccinated guests 4 and younger to “well under” 5% of the total guest occupancy on each cruise.

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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.

Entertainment Venues And Activities

Saga Cruises first cruise line to require passengers get COVID vaccine
  • Improve ventilation in venues
  • Limit capacity in areas with performances, dancing, acting, and singing, and similar activities.
  • Limit capacity in areas with activities such as rock-climbing walls, zip-lines, mini golf, sports courts, jogging, skating, arcade rooms, and similar activities to avoid crowding.
  • Provide adequate space between exercise equipment.
  • Limit class sizes to avoid crowding.

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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

Is The Cdc Still Setting The Rules For Cruise Ship Covid

No. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued rules that cruise lines had to follow in order to resume cruising in U.S. waters that touched on everything from mask-wearing policies on ships to pre-cruise testing. However, the rules have morphed into non-binding guidelines in several steps over the past year.

The CDCs initial Conditional Sail Order imposing COVID-19-related rules on cruise lines expired in February and was replaced by a set of recommended policies that cruise lines could opt-in or opt-out of following. On July 18, this subsequent optional program was replaced by an even less formal set of recommendations that the agency said cruise lines should carefully consider.

The bottom line is cruise lines have been free to choose whether they follow CDC recommendations for COVID-19 protocols on ships for many months.

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Do I Need To Worry Whether Ports On My Itinerary Have Extra Covid

For the most part, no. Many cruise lines warn in their travel documentation that guests are responsible for complying with all local health and safety requirements which may include additional pre-embarkation testing at the terminal, as Norwegian puts it in its documentation.

However, lines will typically tell you in advance if there are specific COVID-19 requirements in ports that could affect your trip.

Generally, if a port on your itinerary requires passengers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test, the line will make that a condition of your sailing. In cases where a negative COVID-19 test is required to enter a certain port or port country, lines will likely test you on board before arriving at that port, often for free.

Note that lines do make clear that its your responsibility to figure out what COVID-19 vaccine or testing documentation you need to pass through countries by air or land on the way to your cruise.

As Norwegian puts it, the line recommends for all guests to follow, and where possible, sign up for notifications from their local government on international travel regulations that may prevent, restrict, or require additional documentation when traveling to another country for embarkation or during their cruise.

Crew Screening Testing Specifications

Florida to appeal ruling in favor of Norwegian Cruise Line requiring vaccination proof
  • When choosing a testing method, cruise ship operators should consider the differences in sensitivity between NAAT and antigen tests. At this time, CDC preferentially recommends NAAT for cruise ships because it is less likely to miss cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection when compared to antigen testing.
  • Tests should be performed as authorized under their Emergency Use Authorization and described in the manufacturers instructions for use or equivalent for those authorized in other national jurisdictions. Any specimen type and source specified in the IFU may be used and should be collected by, or under the supervision of, a health care professional.
  • Refer to the FDA website for a list of the SARS-CoV-2 point-of-care and rapid tests that have received Emergency Use Authorization .
  • Tests that have been authorized for use in a point-of-care setting will have a W, for Waived, in the Authorized Settings column of the FDA table.
  • The laboratory or testing site should use a test authorized for point-of-care use by the FDA and should follow the manufacturers instructions for each test.
  • Cruise ship operators should immediately transport the specimens to the testing equipment location. Locations may include a CLIA-certified laboratory, onboard laboratory, pier-side equipment, or an offsite area.
  • Viral test systems should:
  • Be authorized by FDA for use in a CLIA-waived setting or authorized for use by the national authority in another country where the ship has operated
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    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.

    Do I Need A Negative Covid

    The answer to this question depends in part on where your home is. For U.S.-based cruisers returning to the U.S. by plane from a cruise overseas, there is no longer a COVID-19 testing requirement, as of June 12. You also dont need to test negative for COVID-19 to return home to a U.S. address after disembarking a cruise at a U.S. port.

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    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.

    Can I Cancel For Free If I Get Covid

    Another cruise line will require vaccines  DeSantis says no

    In many cases, yes. Major lines will usually offer you a refund, sometimes in the form of a future cruise credit, if you have to cancel a cruise because of a positive COVID-19 test in your traveling party in the days leading up to a sailing.

    Royal Caribbean, for instance, promises a 100% refund if anyone in your travel party tests positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of your cruise. Carnival has a policy with similar wording.

    Cruise lines will also offer a refund, typically in the form of a future cruise credit, if you are denied embarkation or reboarding, or quarantined or disembarked during a voyage, due to a positive COVID-19 test or being suspected of having COVID-19. If you are quarantined for just part of a cruise due to a positive COVID-19 test, youll likely receive a pro-rated refund for the days of the cruise you missed.

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    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.


    Shore Excursions In Canada During The Cruise

    • 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.

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    Will Cruise Lines Drop Covid Tests Vaccines Carnival Ceo Answers

    • Publish date: Jul 20, 2022 5:20 PM EDT

    Because cruise lines sail nearly all of their ships from United States ports under foreign flags, the Centers for Disease Control had much more control over the cruise industry than any other travel or entertainment business. The CDC used that power to stop all cruises from U.S. ports from March 2020 through July 2021.

    And, even when that ban was lifted, the cruise lines had to operate under a strict set of rules that no other industry had to follow. Eventually, those rules were loosened and the CDC’s program became voluntary, and now, the federal agency has abruptly stopped any covid-related regulation or tracking of the cruise industry.

    That’s a surprising move but it’s one that outgoing Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Arnold Donald thinks rights a wrong.

    “The fact is we were being held, and we felt unfairly, to a different standard: a zero-risk standard relative to the rest of the travel and leisure sector and the rest of society. We finally got to a place that brings us much closer to where the rest of society is in terms of freedom to operate responsibly,” the CEO said, according to a Travel Weekly article.


    Considerations For Isolation Or Quarantine

    CDC eases vaccination rate rules for cruise ships

    Cruise ship operators should consider the following elements when isolating cases or quarantining close contacts:

    • Isolating or quarantining travelers in single-occupancy cabins, with private bathrooms, with the door closed.
    • Designating isolation and quarantine cabins in areas separate from other cabins.
    • If a traveler is identified as a case or a close contact is disembarking the ship within 36 hours, it may be more practical for the cruise ship operator to keep the traveler in their original cabin if the traveler will be the only person in that cabin.
  • Ensuring isolated travelers do not have direct contact with other travelers except for designated medical staff.
  • Asymptomatic travelers with confirmed COVID-19 may share a cabin.
  • Ensuring designated medical staff or other personnel wear proper personal protective equipment per CDC guidance when in proximity to isolated or quarantined travelers.
  • Delivering meals to individual cabins with no face-to-face interaction during this service.
  • Ensuring cabins housing isolated or quarantined travelers are not cleaned by crew members. Supplies such as paper towels, cleaners, disinfectants, and extra linens should be provided to isolated or quarantined persons so they can clean their cabin by themselves as necessary.
  • Soiled linens and towels should be bagged in a manner that limits exposure to crew members by the isolated or quarantined traveler and placed outside the cabin during designated times for transport to the laundry room.
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    New Testing Requirements: No More Free Tests

    Starting March 1, Norwegian will no longer require a pre-departure COVID-19 test at the pier that is administered and paid for by the cruise line. Instead, guests will need to secure their own tests in the days leading up to their trip.

    Passengers leaving from U.S. ports will be required to take a test no more than two days before departure, while non-U.S. ports will allow travelers three days to test. Norwegian will accept negative antigen or PCR coronavirus tests administered by a verified third party or medically supervised home test.

    The cruise line will offer testing at the terminal for passengers who cannot provide proof of a negative result, but these tests will need to be paid for by the guest. Norwegian warns testing costs may vary depending on the port and vendor.

    “This will allow for a more streamlined check-in process with minimal person-to-person contact and limited wait time,” Norwegian said in its statement. “Protocols may vary by itinerary, and in those cases, we will do our very best to communicate itinerary-specific protocols to our guests as soon as possible.”

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