COVID-19 completely changed the cruise industry. One of the biggest shifts for many cruise lines was vaccine requirements. To sail in the middle of the pandemic, ships were forced to only allow vaccinated travelers onboard. However, it is now April 2022. It’s been over two years since the start of the pandemic, and things are starting to feel normal again. Naturally, many are starting to wonder if cruise lines are still enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Let’s look at some of the biggest cruise lines out there to get an idea of the situation.
According to Royal Caribbean’s website, vaccines are still required for American travelers. Their rule specifically states that “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.” Those under 12 don’t need to present proof of vaccination, but they warn that “it is highly likely destinations will begin to require guests age 5 and older to be vaccinated.” In other words, nothing has changed for Royal. Despite loosened CDC regulations, their vaccine rules remain.
Carnival’s situation is similar to Royal Caribbean. They are currently operating vaccinated cruises, and you need to present proof of vaccination to board. However, you can apply for a vaccine exemption if you are medically eligible. According to the cruise line, you must contact them directly to get one. If you are exempted from the vaccine requirements, you will need to get travel insurance if you are from Florida, Texas, South Carolina, or Virginia. It is also possible that your shore excursions will be restricted depending on where you go. Carnival is expecting to keep these rules in place through the end of 2022.
Norwegian, another one of the biggest cruise lines, is also still requiring vaccines. According to their website, “All guests age twelve and over, as well as all crew, must be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to departure in order to board.” While they currently do not have plans to remove this requirement, they acknowledge that they “will update [their] health and safety protocols as needed and appropriate.” To read more about their regulations, check out their website.
Based on these three cruise lines, the answer is pretty clear. Yes, you still need a vaccine to go on a cruise. While this could change in the future, it’s very likely that this will be the norm going forward… at least through the end of 2022.