Cruise Lines Dropping Covid Testing Requirements: What You Need to Know

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, so do the protocols for cruise lines. Pre-cruise COVID testing has been eliminated on some cruise lines, while others have implemented new protocols for guests traveling from the U. S. and Europe.

If you're planning a cruise, it's important to know which cruise lines require a negative Covid-19 test before departure and which don't. Viking Cruise officially stopped requiring passengers to test before the cruise in mid-June, and Celebrity Cruises implemented new protocols for guests traveling from the U. and European ports simplifying testing guidelines. Fully vaccinated guests no longer need to take the test to board trips from the U.

of nine nights or less (excluding trips to Canada and Bermuda). A negative result of a simple, unsupervised, self-administered test will be accepted for all trips (except trips visiting Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Greece or New Zealand). Children under 5 years old sailing from the U. and guests under 12 traveling from Europe don't need to take the test before boarding. Unvaccinated guests (2 years and older) must show proof that the COVID-19 viral test (NAAT or antigen) performed in the laboratory was negative within 3 days of boarding before boarding.

Children under 2 years old are not required to submit a negative test. Pre-cruise tests will continue for cruises of 6 nights or more, but can be done up to 3 days before departure. Terminal testing will not be performed for unvaccinated guests on the day of departure, but all unvaccinated guests over 2 years of age must demonstrate that they have obtained a negative result in a laboratory-administered or supervised self-administered Covid antigen test performed within 3 days prior to boarding. It is important to note that, due to local regulations, all passengers on all cruise ships, regardless of their length, who stop at any port in Bermuda, the Bahamas or Grand Cayman, are still required to test. Short cruise ships that visit other countries without a stop at the ports mentioned above do not require a COVID test, such as Western Caribbean cruises to Mexico or Honduras. Travel insurance is no longer a requirement for unvaccinated guests, unless required by a destination, such as Bermuda. Virgin Voyages became the first major cruise line to abandon pre-cruise testing in the U.

S., and pre-cruise testing is no longer required for travel from the U. S. UU. Starting July 27 and 24 for Mediterranean cruises.

For cruise ships from the United States, 10 percent of passengers will now be able to sail without being vaccinated. If you're sailing on a Norwegian cruise line, you won't need to get tested for Covid-19 before the cruise unless the country from which the ship sails requires it. The NCLH confirmed that pre-cruise COVID tests will remain in effect for trips departing from Greece. Holland America eliminated pre-cruise testing for some trips aboard Rotterdam. Guests sailing on July 17th and 24th must not show a negative Covid test result before boarding. The affected routes depart from the port of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and sail to several destinations in Norway. All passengers aged 12 and over must be fully vaccinated against the disease and receive the final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before boarding.

Guests 18 years of age or older also need a booster shot if the final dose of their original vaccination cycle is greater than nine months from the last day of the cruise. P&O Cruises, based in the United Kingdom (and owned by Carnival Corporation), has removed its requirement for testing on the Iona ship if guests are fully vaccinated. Each of these cruise ships departs from Southampton and visits Norwegian ports of call. During this period, guests who are considered fully vaccinated will no longer need to purchase or have a lateral flow (antigen) test before boarding the ship. The problem is that pre-cruise tests are still required depending on where the ship is sailing to. Viking's vaccination mandates remain in effect for both passengers and crew members. These are the cruise lines that still require a Covid test before the cruise to be able to sail regardless of vaccination status and length of travel: Royal Caribbean Group brands; Virgin Voyages; Norwegian Cruise Line; Holland America; P&O Cruises; and Viking Cruises. The cruise industry has less influence within government than other forms of leisure travel that enjoy much more public pressure on its part.

It remains unclear if pre-cruise testing will completely disappear or if a change will occur sooner or later. The cruise line also recommends that vaccinated guests continue testing before departure as Covid protocols have been changing since cruise ships restarted with mainly eroding protocols along with declining Covid cases and less deadly variants. As the threat of Covid-19 begins to diminish it seems logical to end pre-cruise testing given that U. The requirement for a pre-flight COVID test for international travel has been removed while many pharmacies and urgent care centers offer testing.

Kathryn Babena
Kathryn Babena

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