Covid Vaccine Policy

Will you need a COVID-19 vaccine to cruise this year?

With a growing number of cruise lines announcing plans to restart operations in the next few months, it’s become a pressing question for cruisers — and the answer isn’t always clear.

In recent weeks, more than a dozen cruise lines have announced plans to require passengers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine before stepping aboard a vessel (including, on Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line and its two sisters, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises).

At the same time, a few lines have said they would not require passengers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 — at least for now. But there also are many lines that have yet to announce any sort of decision on the issue.

IN THIS POST

Which cruise lines have added a vaccine requirement?

Cruise lines that have announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all or at least some upcoming cruises include American Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Silversea, Virgin Voyages and Windstar Cruises.

Lines that are restarting operations without requiring passengers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine include MSC Cruises, and German lines TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Lines that have yet to make a decision on a COVID-19 vaccine requirement include Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line.

One line, Azamara, is not commenting on its vaccine policy.

Instead of making a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for cruising, some lines are requiring that passengers show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a ship.

Some lines, such as Lindblad Expeditions, are requiring both proof of a COVID-19 vaccine and proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Other lines, such as Avalon Waterways and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, are requiring either proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Many of the lines that have not yet announced a policy regarding COVID-19 vaccinations have suggested they will announce one closer to the date when they restart operations.

While a handful of cruise lines have restarted limited operations in Europe and a few other places around the world in recent months, many cruise lines around the world haven’t operated a single departure in more than a year and have canceled all or most of their upcoming departures through at least the end of May or June.

Here’s a line-by-line look at COVID-19 vaccine and testing policies at 39 major ocean and river cruise brands:

AmaWaterways

Vaccine required? Under evaluation

Note: AmaWaterways has not yet made a decision as to whether or not it will require passengers to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for COVID-19.

“We are exploring all options regarding vaccination requirements and testing for our guests, but as the situation … continues to evolve quickly, we are not making any final announcements until we are closer to a confirmed restart date,” the line said in a statement sent to us. “Our decision will be informed by global medical and scientific experts as well as requirements established by the airlines and the destinations we visit.”

American Cruise Lines

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers on sailings through April 30

Note: American Cruise Lines tells us it may not require vaccines for all 2021 cruises. Requirements may vary depending on the date of departure and the region cruised. The line is requiring all passengers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within four days of their trip. Passengers also may be tested upon arrival at their ship.

American Queen Steamboat Company

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers, effective for sailings scheduled for July 1, 2021, and beyond.

Note: The line also is testing passengers for COVID-19 as they arrive for their cruises.

Avalon Waterways

Vaccine required? No

Alternate requirement: All passengers must show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to sail or proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken no earlier than 72 hours before travel. Alternately, passengers can show proof that they have recovered from a confirmed case of COVID-19 within three months of travel.

Azamara

Vaccine required? No policy

Note: A spokesperson for Azamara told us the line was not yet ready to release a comment on anything related to vaccines.

Carnival Cruise Line

Vaccine required? Under evaluation

Note: In a video announcement on March 26, Carnival president Christine Duffy said the line had not made a decision yet on whether it would require passengers to have a COVID-19 vaccine to cruise.

Celebrity Cruises

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers who are 18 years old or older. Passengers under the age of 18 can sail with proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19.

Note: Celebrity only has announced the vaccine requirement for ships taking part in its initial cruising restart scheduled for June, which includes new Caribbean sailings from the island of St. Martin and new Mediterranean sailings from Athens, Greece.

Celestyal Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Alternate requirement: All passengers will be required to show proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken a maximum of 72 hours before embarkation. This requirement will be waived should qualifying proof of vaccination be provided.

Crystal Cruises

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Cunard Line

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Note: Cunard only has announced the vaccine requirement for its initial cruising restart schedule for this summer, which will involve cruises around the U.K. for U.K. residents only.

Disney Cruise Line

Vaccine required? Under evaluation

Note: Disney has not yet made a decision as to whether or not it will require passengers to show proof of vaccination to sail, a spokesperson told us. But all sailings “will include multiple layers of health and safety measures, including COVID-19 testing, health screenings, face coverings, reduced guest capacity, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning, among others.”

Emerald Cruises

Vaccine required? Under evaluation

Alternate requirement: Emerald will test all passengers for COVID-19 during the embarkation process at the start of cruises.

Note: Emerald has not yet made a decision as to whether or not it will require passengers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, according to a spokesperson.

Grand Circle Cruise Line

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Alternate requirement: All passengers are required to show a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding the vessel. There is also a mandatory screening by thermal cameras for guests before boarding and a daily temperature check on board. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises currently only sail with residents of Germany, Austria and Switzerland for now.

Holland America

Vaccine required? No

Alternate requirement: All passengers will be required to show proof of a negative PCR test before embarkation.

Note: A Holland America spokesperson tells us the line is “closely monitoring the evolving situation with vaccines” and says “decisions will be informed by our global medical and science experts and requirements of the places [where] we operate and visit.”

Lindblad Expeditions

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers who are 16 years old or older.

Additional requirements: In addition to proof of vaccination, all passengers must show proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken prior to leaving home for their cruise. The line also will test passengers arriving for cruises at the pier for COVID-19 using a rapid antigen test.

MSC Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Alternate requirement: MSC Cruises has been requiring passengers to test negative for COVID-19 in advance of boarding.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers on departures through at least Oct. 31

Note: Norwegian has not yet made a decision about whether passengers will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine on departures beyond Oct. 31.

Oceania Cruises

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers on sailings out of U.S. ports

Note: Oceania Cruises has not yet said what its COVID-19 vaccine requirements will be on sailings outside U.S. waters.

Overseas Adventure Travel

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

P&O Cruises

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Princess Cruises

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Note: Princess only has announced the vaccine requirement for its initial restart of cruising scheduled for this summer, which will involve cruises around the U.K. for U.K. residents only.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers on sailings out of U.S. ports.

Note: Regent has not yet said what its COVID-19 vaccine requirements will be on sailings outside U.S. waters.

The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Vaccine required? Under evaluation

Note: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection has not yet announced whether or not it will require passengers to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for COVID-19 to sail.

“The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection continues to evaluate all of our options for protecting the wellbeing of our guests … and the communities to which we will sail,” the line said in a statement sent to us.

Royal Caribbean

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers who are 18 years old or older. Passengers under the age of 18 can sail with proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19.

Note: Royal Caribbean only has announced the vaccine requirement for ships taking part in its initial cruising restart scheduled for June, which includes new Bahamas sailings out Nassau in the Bahamas, new Bahamas sailings out of Bermuda and new Mediterranean sailings out of Cyprus.

Saga Cruises

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Vaccine required? Under evaluation

Alternate requirement: Scenic will test all passengers for COVID-19 during the embarkation process at the start of cruises.

Note: Scenic has not yet made a decision as to whether or not it will require passengers to show proof of vaccination, according to a spokesperson.

Seabourn

Vaccine required? Yes

Note: Seabourn has announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for initial cruises it plans to operate out of Piraeus, Greece, starting in July. It hasn’t said yet whether it have a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for other future sailings.

Sea Cloud Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Alternate requirement: All passengers will be required to show proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken no more than 72 hours before embarkation. A PCR or antigen test will also be performed during embarkation. Only guests with a negative result are allowed to board.

Silversea

Vaccine required? Yes

Note: Silversea says the requirement will apply to all upcoming Silversea voyages globally with the exclusion of sailings departing from Australia. The line says it still is evaluating health protocols for future Australia sailings.

Star Clippers

Vaccine required? Under evaluation

Note: Star Clippers has not yet made a decision as to whether or not it will require passengers to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson.

Swan Hellenic

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Tauck

Vaccine required? No

Alternate requirement: All passengers must show proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken a maximum of five days before departing from home for their cruise.

UnCruise Adventures

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers who are 18 years old or older. Passengers under the age of 18 can sail with proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Vaccine required? No

Alternate requirement: Passengers can either show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test (either PCR or rapid) taken within 72 hours of sailing.

Victory Cruise Lines

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Viking

Vaccine required? Yes

Note: Viking only has announced a vaccine requirement for its initial “welcome back voyages” planned for May, June and July around the U.K., Bermuda and Iceland. The line hasn’t said what it’s longer-term policy will be. The line also has said it would test all passengers for COVID-19 with a PCR test in advance of embarkation and regularly during their sailing. The line has said it expected to do daily testing on board ships initially.

Virgin Voyages

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers

Windstar Cruises

Vaccine required? Yes

For whom: All passengers