Four major cruise lines are dropping their vaccination requirements for some sailings next month, the cruise lines said.
As of Sept. 6, Carnival Cruise Line will no longer require unvaccinated guests to apply for a waiver to sail, according to a press release. This does not apply to travel in Australia or travel of 16 or more nights, and changes are subject to local restrictions.
Princess Cruises will also remove vaccination requirements on “most voyages under 16 days so that anyone can cruise,” effective Sept. 6, according to a Friday press release. According to her website, Princess is currently requiring unvaccinated guests to have a vaccination waiver before they can sail.
Likewise, Royal Caribbean welcomes all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, as well as on sailings from Los Angeles, New Orleans, Galveston, Texas and Europe beginning Sept. 5 “as long as testing requirements are met,” a spokesperson told USA TODAY via email Thursday.
“We are working with local governments across the Caribbean to align vaccination requirements for additional routes,” the spokesperson added.
According to the website, Royal Caribbean currently requires guests aged 12 and older to present a vaccination certificate before departing from North America.
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And from the same date, Celebrity Cruises will welcome all passengers who follow the test rules for sailings from Los Angeles, the United Kingdom and Europe – with the exception of Iceland – according to its website.
The changes come after Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. announced plans to also adjust COVID-19 rules to allow all passengers to board.
Many cruise lines have rolled back the testing rules
Royal Caribbean Group, parent company of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity, also rolled back testing requirements this month, following the end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 cruise ship program. The company requires vaccinated passengers to only test on sailings of six nights or longer, but testing is still required for unvaccinated passengers on all sailings.
Many other shipping companies and brands have made similar protocol changes, including Carnival Cruise Line and MSC Cruises.
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When do cruise lines have to undergo COVID-19 testing?
► Carnival Cruise Line will require testing for vaccinated passengers only on voyages of 16 nights or longer or where local regulations require it, such as on sailings to Canada and Bermuda, beginning Sept. 6, according to a press release.
Passengers who have not been vaccinated or cannot show proof of vaccination must still “submit the results of a negative PCR or antigen test within three days of embarkation”. Those under 5 years old are exempt from vaccine and testing requirements in the US
► Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. will drop all pre-cruise requirements for vaccinated passengers ages 12 and older, starting Sept. 3, according to a press release.
Guests aged 12 and over who have not been vaccinated or cannot provide proof of vaccination must still be tested within 72 hours of boarding. The company said it “highly recommends all guests to be aware of vaccination protocols and to test at their convenience before traveling.” Changes are subject to local requirements.
► On sailings from the US, MSC Cruises requires testing for fully vaccinated passengers traveling for six nights or more and for all unvaccinated passengers 2 years or older, regardless of length of travel, according to a press release. The tests must be taken within three days of embarkation. The cruise line recommends that guests test within a day of travel if possible.
► As of Sept. 6, Princess Cruises will require passengers traveling for 16 nights or more to “pass a supervised test within three days of embarkation (guests 5 and older)”, as well as passengers making full Panama Canal transitions and certain other voyages.
Unvaccinated passengers must show a negative result of a self-test performed within three days of their journey on sailings of 15 nights or less, although unvaccinated children under 5 years of age are exempt.
► Holland America Line requires all guests 2 years and older to pass a test before travel. All guests 12 and older must be vaccinated, according to the cruise line’s website. Passengers aged 5 and 11 can also be unvaccinated, but require a waiver.
Guests who are up to date on their vaccines and have been boosted when eligible can test within three days of departure. If they have been vaccinated but are not up to date, they should test within two days.