Every Cruise Line Requiring Passengers to Be Vaccinated Before Boarding

For the first time in over two years cruise lines are beginning to change their policies for testing and vaccinations on board.

the Carnival - 15-Day Hawaii from San Francisco
Photo: Courtesy of Carnival Cruises

As COVID-19 gradually loosens its grasp on the travel industry cruise ships have been returning to the high seas with precautions in place. Currently, most cruise line protocols include a vaccine requirement for guests and crew as well as a possible COVID-19 test or even a booster vaccine.

Some cruise lines like Virgin Voyages and Uncruise Adventures have begun to roll back the pandemic-era procedure of testing before embarkation. There are even new ships launching post pandemic, such as Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville at Sea which has begun taking passengers from Florida to the Bahamas.

The CDC has also ended a pandemic-era policy of publicly displaying COVID-19 cases on board different cruise lines to the public. For those looking to check current COVID-19 trends onboard the CDC urges direct contact with the cruise line, and the organization will continue to monitor and offer guidelines to ships.

Below, we break down each line welcoming vaccinated cruisers as well as what travelers need to know if they plan to sail.

American Queen Voyages

Where they sail:

American Queen Voyages is known for its Mississippi River cruises as well as sailings down other U.S. rivers like the Columbia and Snake rivers, using classic paddle wheeler ships for a throwback romantic vibe.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated (14 days after their final shot). Guests must also have a negative COVID-19 PCR test completed within 2 days of embarkation.

What other safety measures are in place: Beginning Aug.1, pre-departure testing will no longer be required on any river cruise. Lakes & Oceans and Expedition guests will be required to download the ArriveCAN app and take a pre-departure test in the pre-cruise hotel. Luggage is then disinfected before being brought onto the ship and staterooms cleaned with electrostatic fogging. Masks will be required during the embarkation process and while riding a shore excursion bus, but will not be required on board.

Find out more: American Queen Voyages

Avalon Waterways

Where they sail: These small-ship river cruises sail throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and down the Nile River in Egypt.

Who needs the vaccine: All international travelers from the U.S. must be fully vaccinated before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests will undergo a health screening upon arrival and luggage will be disinfected. Avalon will provide COVID-19 testing for travelers who need to show proof of a negative test to return home at no extra cost.

Find out more: Avalon Waterways

Azamara

Where they sail: Azamara sails mid-size ships all over the world, to all seven continents.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew 12 and older will be required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding a ship. Guests under 12 on cruises from Athens will have to take an antigen test at the pier and again at the end of cruise.

What other safety measures are in place: Depending on the port of embarkation guests may or may not to pre-test to travel. The cruise line's Miami port requires all passengers to be tested prior. For a full list of ports and whether they require a test guests can check online.

Azamara's ships have been upgraded with new HVAC filtration systems, and EPA-certified disinfectants are used to clean the ship. Depending on where travelers have been 15 days leading up to the trip they may be denied boarding.

Find out more: Azamara

Carnival Cruises

Where they sail: Carnival sails large ships around the world, including popular trips to the Caribbean. The company sailed its maiden voyage on the Mardi Gras out of Florida in July.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding one of Carnival's "vaccinated cruises." Unvaccinated passengers 12 and older sailing on a Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, or Maryland-based ship who are granted an exemption must provide proof of a doctor's note attesting to the medical reason they can't be vaccinated, according to the cruise line there are few exceptions. The vaccine exemption process is currently open for sailings through Dec. 31, 2022. Guests will be notified when we extend this period.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests, regardless of vaccination status, are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within three days of the start of their cruise. All guests are also required to wear masks in many indoor areas like elevators and in the casino. Unvaccinated guests must also undergo several tests and are required to participate in "bubble" shore excursions. For cruises leaving out of Florida and Texas, unvaccinated passengers 12 and older must also obtain travel insurance.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests who have recovered from COVID-19 within three months of their sailing date, do not need the required pre-cruise COVID test before embarkation, only if they are at least 10 days past their COVID-19 infection, have no symptoms and present documentation of recovery from COVID-19 from their healthcare provider.

Find out more: Carnival Cruise Line

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Apex
Celebrity Apex. Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Where they sail: Celebrity Cruises sails all over the world.

Who needs the vaccine: Guests 12 and older must be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. On UK sailings, guests 18 and older must be fully vaccinated. Celebrity makes some exceptions but requires vaccination on the Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Equinox, and Celebrity Summit out of South Florida.

What other safety measures are in place: Children who are not eligible to be vaccinated (between the ages of 2-11) must bring a negative PCR test result taken within three daysof embarkation. An additional COVID-19 Antigen test will be administered in the terminal before boarding and on the day before disembarkation

Find out more: Celebrity Cruises

Cunard

Where they sail: Cunard, which sails all over the world, is known for its transatlantic journeys aboard the Queen Mary 2.

Who needs the vaccine: Cunard's initial cruises will be open only to UK residents who are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. All guests 18 and older must be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated passengers under 18 will be required to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours of their departure.

What other safety measures are in place: Cunard has "enhanced" their onboard ventilation systems and implemented mandatory mask-wearing policies indoors. All guests aged 4 and older are required to have a negative COVID-19 test before boarding. Crew will be tested regularly while on board. Guests who have certain pre-existing medical conditions, including those who are on supplementary oxygen, will not be allowed to board.

Find out more: Cunard

Disney Cruise Line

Where they sail: Disney sails family-friendly journeys including to the Caribbean, Europe, and Alaska.

Who needs the vaccine: Guests 18 and older must be vaccinated before embarking on Disney's planned UK sailings. Guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding a ship to the Bahamas.

What other safety measures are in place: For sailings out of the U.S., Disney requires unvaccinated guests to get a COVID-19 PCR test between 5 days and 24 hours of embarking on a ship and undergo a rapid PCR test at the terminal at their own expense. Unvaccinated guests 12 and older leaving on a cruise out of Florida through the end of the year will also have to show proof of travel insurance. All guests, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks indoors.

For UK sailings, Disney will require guests under 18 to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between five days and 24 hours prior to boarding. All guests will be required to undergo a rapid antigen test before embarkation and all guests 11 and older must wear masks indoors.

Find out more: Disney Cruise Line

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 (HEPA) filters and buffets have been eliminated. The cruise line states some itineraries will require proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel, and that instructors will be sent out 30 days prior to travel.

Find out more: Grand Circle Cruise Line

Holland America

Where they sail: Holland America sails large ships all over the world, including to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Europe, and more.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be required to be vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: Passengers are required to undergo a PCR or antigen test within three days of boarding a ship. Holland America ships will have COVID-19 testing capabilities on board and feature enhanced air filtration with upgraded HVAC systems. The cruise line will supply tests for return trips to home countries at no additional cost.

Find out more: Holland America

Lindblad Expeditions

Where they sail: Lindblad Expeditions is known for its adventurous trips to hard-to-reach destinations like Antarctica and the Russian Far East, partnering with National Geographic to add to the experience.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests 12 and older need to be vaccinated before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccines, all guests will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test prior to boarding.

Find out more: Lindblad Expeditions

Margaritaville at Sea

Where they sail: Margaritaville at Sea offers 3-day cruises to Grand Bahama Island departing from the port of Palm Beach. The cruise line also offers the opportunity to take the ship one way to the Bahamas to allow guests to stay at the Margaritaville resort, and then take the ship back to the Bahamas at a later date.

Who needs the vaccine: Guests must be fully vaccinated two weeks prior to departure. Unvaccinated guests may travel if their exception to the vaccine is approved. Guests aged 3 and up may travel without a vaccine if they have a certificate of recovery, and guests under 2 are exempt from vaccination requirements, according to the cruise line.

What other safety measures are in place: Vaccinated passengers are no longer required to take a pre-departure test. Unvaccinated passengers are allowed on board under certain exceptions and must have a certified negative antigen test taken within one day of embarkation.

Find out more: Margaritaville at Sea

MSC Cruises

Where they sail: MSC Cruises sails large ocean cruises around the world, including throughout Europe, South America, the Persian Gulf, and the Caribbean. In August, the company started sailing to the Bahamas with a stop at its private island, Ocean Cay.

Who needs the vaccine: Guests 12 and older are required to be fully vaccinated before boarding, guests must bring their physical vaccine card, or certificate at the time of embarkation.

What other safety measures are in place: Fully-vaccinated passengers are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within three days of their departure. Unvaccinated children must show proof of a negative PCR test. All guests will be tested at the terminal before boarding. Children under 2 are exempt.

Find out more: MSC Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line

Where they sail: Norwegian sails big ocean cruises all around the world, including popular itineraries all throughout the Caribbean and Greece.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. In addition to vaccines, guests are required to undergo a rapid antigen test before boarding. Each ship has a dedicated Public Health Officer on board.

What other safety measures are in place: For all sailings after Aug.1 testing is no longer required with the exception of trips departing from a U.S. port; Canadian port; or Piraeus, Greece.

Find out more: Norwegian Cruise Line

Oceania Cruises

Where they sail: Oceania Cruises sails all over the world, including offering several World Cruise itineraries.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests will be required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: Initially, the company will "control the guest capacity onboard" as well as have a Public Health Officer and Infectious Disease Prevention Officer on board.

Find out more: Oceania Cruises

P&O Cruises

Where they sail: The UK-based cruise line sails around Europe, including to the Canary Islands, as well as to the Caribbean from Southampton in the UK.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests who plan to join one of the company's sailings must be vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. Unvaccinated passengers under 18 will be required to show a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their trip.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests are required to undergo a COVID-19 test at the terminal. Masks will be required on board indoors, and all shore excursions will be with vetted operators.

Find out more: P&O Cruises

Princess Cruises

Where they sail: The global cruise line sails large ocean ships all around the world, from Australia to Alaska.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. Boosters are not required, but highly recommended.

What other safety measures are in place: Guests on U.S. cruises are required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within three days of boarding and wearing a mask indoors is recommended but not required. Unvaccinated guests who receive an exemption will have to undergo several tests. All guests must wear masks indoors in places like elevators, shops, and the casino, or where social distancing cannot be maintained.

On UK sailings, unvaccinated guests under 18 must show proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their departure. All guests must get tested at the terminal.

Find out more: Princess Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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.

Find out more: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas
Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas. Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Where they sail: Royal Caribbean sails large ocean ships all over the world, including many popular itineraries throughout the Caribbean and Asia.

Who needs the vaccine: Royal Caribbean requires all guests 12 and older to show proof of vaccination before boarding. Royal Caribbean will not accept a Certificate of Recovery in lieu of a vaccination record card for guests who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests must get tested for COVID-19 before their cruise, regardless of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated minors must also take a rapid PCR test at the terminal before boarding and get tested again before disembarking. As crew become eligible for their boosters they will be required to receive it.

Find out more: Royal Caribbean International

Saga

Where they sail: The British cruise line, exclusively for guests 50 and older, sails both ocean and river cruises around the globe.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be fully vaccinated, including a booster shot at least 14 days before boarding a ship. Saga was the first major cruise line to implement this vaccination policy.

What other safety measures are in place: The cruise line has reduced capacity and is offering a private chauffeur car per household for up to 250 miles. All guests will be required to get tested for COVID-19 in the terminal.

Find out more: Saga

Seabourn

Where they sail: Seabourn's mid-size luxury cruises head all around the world, from Alaska to the Caribbean.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be fully vaccinated before boarding. Guests must take a COVID-19 PCR test within two days before sailing.

What other safety measures are in place: Masks are required onboard except while eating or drinking or in a private room. For passengers in need of a test upon returning to their home country the cruise will provide at no cost.

Find out more: Seabourn

Silversea

Silver Shadow cruise ship
Silversea

Where they sail: Silversea brings guests all around the world in luxury and style, including to the Galapagos and Antarctica.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. Beginning March 1, 2022 the booster will be required for eligible guests.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests will be tested before boarding a ship and halfway through their trip. Guests will also be able to take a test before disembarking. Passengers are required to wear masks indoors.

Find out more: Silversea

UnCruise Adventures

Where they sail: This small-ship company is known for its Alaska journeys as well as adventures in places like the Galapagos and island hopping in Hawaii.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. At least one booster is required to sail.

What other safety measures are in place: Guests are not required, but requested to test before departing from home (this policy is subject to change as COVID-19 trends change, as the company states passengers should test to "be a good citizen". Each ship can perform rapid molecular tests on board. The cruise states they will not visit any destinations where vaccine rates are low.

Find out more: UnCruise Adventures

Victory Cruise Lines

Where they sail: Victory Cruise Lines is known for its Great Lakes cruises, providing all-inclusive sailings to see breathtaking sights from Niagara Falls to the iconic architecture of Chicago from Lake Michigan. Beyond the U.S., Victory Cruise Lines sails to Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew will be required to be vaccinated before boarding, and will be required to show physical proof prior to boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: Just like American Queen Voyages: Beginning Aug.1, pre-departure testing will no longer be required on any river cruise. Lakes & Oceans and Expedition guests will be required to download the ArriveCAN app and take a pre-departure test in the pre-cruise hotel. Luggage is then disinfected before being brought onto the ship and staterooms cleaned with electrostatic fogging. Masks will be required during the embarkation process and while riding a shore excursion bus, but will not be required on board.

Find out more: Victory Cruise Lines

Viking Cruises

Where they sail: Viking sails ocean and river cruises all over the world, including throughout Europe. This summer, Viking will sail several voyages, including around England for UK residents, to Bermuda, and to Iceland in June.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be fully vaccinated to board a ship. Guests who are eligible must have a booster.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccines, all guests may be required to undergo a saliva PCR test at embarkation as well as "frequent" testing throughout the journey. All staterooms are equipped with independent air handling units.

Find out more: Viking Cruises

Virgin Voyages

Resilient Lady
Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

Where they sail: The brand-new cruise line is launching mini sailings from England for UK residents, and has cruises throughout the Caribbean, and transatlantic options.

Who needs the vaccine: Most passengers will be required to be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding, however, the cruise line will allow for up to 10% of guests on board to be unvaccinated. All crew are required to be vaccinated.

What other safety measures are in place: Virgin Voyages was the first cruise line to eliminate pre-departure testing for guests. The cruise line will continue to work with an advisory board to help ensure health and safety on board at all times, including the use of air filtration systems and sanitization of high touch surface areas.

Find out more: Virgin Voyages

Windstar Cruises

Where they sail: Windstar operates small-ship cruises and several sailing vessels all around the globe, including to places like Central America.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests will be required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding one of Windstar's yachts. Boosters are highly encouraged and are recommended to be administered at least one week prior to travel.

What other safety measures are in place: Beginning July 1, all guests must arrive to the pier with a negative COVID-19 test in hand. Acceptable tests are PCR taken within three days, or a rapid test taken within two days of embarkation. This replaces the previous policy of testing at the pier. In addition to the testing the cruise line has HEPA filters and UV-C ultraviolet germicidal irradiation.

Find out more: Windstar Cruises

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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