What We Know: When Popular Cruise Destinations & Ports Will Reopen
In March, many destinations around the world closed their borders to international travelers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this came the closure of cruise ports and an overall halt to most of the travel industry. As many nations begin to look forward to reopening, many countries have announced timing and regulations for foreign travel to resume.
As we all look ahead to when cruise lines plan on resuming sailings, the questions still lingering are — when will ships be allowed to sail? When are ports opening? We’ve gathered the most up-to-date information on when top cruising destinations and ports around the world opened (or will be opening) to travelers from outside the country, and what kind of precautionary measures visitors must take to enter these countries.
October 30, 2020, the CDC issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order to provide guidance for a phased-in resumption of cruise ship passenger operations. This replaced the CDC’s ‘No Sail Order’ which had been in effect since March. As a result of the new Order, most major cruise lines further suspended sailings through December 31, 2020.
Note: This information is subject to change pending updates from any country or regional mandates. We encourage you to check with your cruise line for updates on measures needed to be taken before entering any of these countries for travel.
Latest Update: December 8, 2020.
North American Ports & Destinations
- Bar Harbor, Maine - The town of Bar Harbor announced in July that it would be banning all cruise ship visits into its port through the remainder of 2020.
- Canada - The US border with Canada remains closed for non-essential travel through December 21, 2020. Canada has banned medium and large-sized cruise ships through February 28, 2021. The ban covers ships in Canadian waters carrying more than 100 people and offering overnight accommodations.
- Hawaii - On October 15, the State of Hawaii eased quarantine restrictions for U.S. visitors traveling to the islands. Upon arrival to Hawaii, all travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test from an approved provider taken within 72 hours of arrival in order to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine in effect for arriving passengers, as well as submit travel details to the State Department's website.
- Key West - On November 3, the City of Key West voters approved three ballot questions in its 2020 Election that would restrict the number of daily cruise ship visitors, ban vessels carrying more than 1,300 passengers and prioritize docking for cruise lines with the best health and environmental records. According to local news station, WLPG-TV, "Before the amendments ended up on the Election Day ballot, opponents challenged the measure in federal and state courts, so it is likely that they will challenge the voters' decision in court even though the amendments are legally binding." Cruiseline.com will continue to share updates regarding this decision as they are announced.
- Mexico - The US and Mexico border remain closed for non-essential travel through December 21, 2020. International travelers can travel to select Mexico beaches by plane. Borders are currently closed to all international travelers arriving by cruise ship.
- On June 8, the Caribe Mexicano (home to Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel, and Riviera Maya) reopened for international travelers traveling by air. Incoming visitors may be subject to health screenings upon arrival to the country, including temperature checks.
- On the Pacific side of Mexico, the Baja California Sur area (including Los Cabos) reopened to international travelers arriving by air on June 15. Also on this side of the country, Mazatlan reopened to international air travelers on July 1. Mazatlan was awarded the WTTC’s ‘Safe Travels’ certification, verifying its adherence to a globally-recognized set of health and safety standards.
Caribbean and South American Ports & Destinations
- ABC Islands:
- Aruba - Aruba officially reopened for inbound air travel on July 1, and opened on July 10 to U.S. visitors. Aruba has made no announcements regarding cruise passengers, however air travelers to the country must take a PCR test within 72 hours of departure or pre-pay for a PCR test upon arrival and quarantining for up to 24 hours waiting for results.
- Bonaire - Bonaire Tourism announced that as of July 1st, 2020, travelers from the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg can return to Bonaire. A maximum of 1,000 tourists is admitted per week. Bonaire has yet to announce details for US travelers and cruise lines.
- Curaçao - As of July 1, travelers from France, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy can travel to Curaçao. The country requires a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before entering the country. Like Bonaire, Curaçao has not announced when US travelers and cruise ships can return to the island.
- Antigua and Barbuda - The Government of Antigua and Barbuda opened to international travel on July 9. Passengers arriving by sea (private yachts/ferry services) are subject to quarantine according to guidelines issued by the Port Health department. All arriving passengers from outside the country must wear a face mask upon disembarkation and in all public areas.
- The Bahamas - U.S. travelers are now allowed to enter the Bahamas, a reversal from a decision July 17 that barred Americans after the islands recorded a spike in Covid-19 cases. Effective November 1, any visitor entering The Bahamas is required to purchase a health travel visa, obtain a COVID-19 RT PCR test five days prior to arrival, complete a daily health questionnaire, take a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test on Day 5 of their visit, and carry with them at all times proof of a negative test result. Visitors can apply for the visa online, as well as receive status updates on their approval. Beginning 14 November 2020, all visitors will be required to opt-in to mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for their Health Travel Visa.
- Barbados - Barbados reopened its borders to international travelers with limited commercial flights beginning on July 12 and to U.S. travelers on July 25. SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream I will be the first passenger cruise ship sailing out of the country on November 7, 2020.
- Belize - Belize opened to international visitors on October 1, 2020. All inbound travelers must provide proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test results within 72 hours of arrival and have reservations at hotels that have been approved by Belize’s Safe Corridor program.
- Bermuda - As of July 1, Bermuda is open for travelers visiting by air. All visitors must have the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72-hours upon arrival. All travelers must fill out an online Bermuda travel authorization form before arriving. There is no set date as to when cruise ships will be allowed to return to the country.
- British Virgin Islands (Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada, and Virgin Gorda) - The BVI’s opened their borders to returning residents on June 2. Non-resident visitors are not expected to be permitted to visit the BVI by September 1 at the earliest. No ships are scheduled to arrive in the country before this time.
- Dominican Republic - On July 1, the Dominican Republic opened back up all of its regions to international travel. No announcement has been made in regards to cruise travel to the area at this time. Passengers flying into the Dominican Republic must report on a Health Affidavit Form that they have felt no COVID-19 symptoms for 72 hours and are subject to a temperature check upon arrival.
- Grand Cayman - Borders reopened to international travel in Grand Cayman starting October 1, however, the country announced it is closed to cruise tourism through the remainder of 2020.
- Jamaica - Jamaica reopened to foreign travel on June 15. Travelers will have to submit a pre-travel health authorization and are subject to thermal temperature checks upon arrival. Additionally, visitors are expected to adhere to all social distancing and face mask regulations in public while visiting the country. Effective July 10, all travelers from Florida, Texas, New York, and Arizona must upload the results of a negative COVID-19 test not older than ten days before the date of travel to the Visit Jamaica website for approval to enter the country.
- Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico formally reopened for tourism on July 15. Upon arrival by air, the Puerto Rico Health Department stipulates that travelers will have to present the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours or be tested on-site. All ports are currently closed for cruise ships in Puerto Rico.
- St. Barts - The island of St. Barts reopened to international travelers in June. As of July 10, international visitors are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result, taken within 72-hours of arrival.
- St. Lucia - St. Lucia reopened on June 4 to foreign travelers. Once in the country, visitors will go through temperature checks and are required to wear a face mask in public spaces, according to the St. Lucia Tourism Authority. Beginning July 9, passengers arriving from outside St. Lucia must provide the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days of arrival.
- St. Maarten - On August 1 St Maarten officially reopened its borders to travelers from the United States, following a July relaunch to Canadian and European tourists and private aviation. Only St Maarten, the Dutch side of the island, is open to Americans and all other travelers. Saint Martin, the French side, has closed its borders to the Dutch side — meaning U.S. visitors are not able to visit the French side of the island right now. All travelers to St Maarten must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their travel date to St Maarten.
- Turks & Caicos - The islands of Turks and Caicos are open to leisure travelers. Arriving tourists and residents must obtain a travel authorization for arrival. This authorization includes a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test must be taken within 72 hours of travel, Medical/ Travel insurance, and a completed a health screening questionnaire.
- U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John) - The U.S. Virgin Islands reopened to leisure travelers on September 19, 2020. This follows a “stay at home” order issued August 13 which closed non-essential businesses, limited restaurants to take-out, and prohibiting hotels, villas, Airbnbs, temporary vacation housing, charter vessels, and similar businesses from accepting leisure travel reservations. During the Coronavirus pandemic, ports and docks in the U.S. Virgin Islands are temporarily closed to cruise ships with passengers on board.
- St. Kitts & Nevis - The twin-island federation of St. Kitts and Nevis reopened for tourism on October 31, 2020.
European Ports & Destinations
- The European Union opened to visitors on July 1, following months of pandemic-related travel closures. As of now, the United States is among one of the countries listed by the European Union that falls under this travel ban, not allowing tourist entry into any of its countries. The European Union includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
- On June 30, the European Union released guidelines on the safe resumption of cruise lines following suspensions. These new measures cover suggested changes to reduced ship capacity, onboard separation by age groups, hygiene and disinfection measures, and stipulate that cruise lines could consider testing all passengers. To read more on these guidelines, visit the European Union Announces Guidelines for the Return of Cruising.
- Spain - Home to one of the world’s largest cruise ports in Barcelona, Spain reopened their borders to international travelers on June 21. However, the country announced it would be extending an indefinite ban on cruise ships to both its mainland and islands.
- Germany - TUI Cruises and AIDA Cruises have resumed operations in Germany. At this time, U.S. travelers are not allowed to visit Germany due to EU regulations.
- Italy - MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises have resumed operations in Italy. At this time, At this time, the lines are currently welcoming guests who are residents in Schengen countries only.
- Greece - Greece lifted its cruise ship ban opening its ports to cruise ships of all sizes starting on August 1, 2020. At this time, U.S. travelers are not allowed to visit Greece due to EU regulations.
- Norway - In June, Norway became the first country to reopen ocean cruising with the resumption of Hurtigruten’s Finnmarken departing from Bergen on an 11-night voyage up the coast to Kirkenes and back, as well as a sailing of SeaDream YachtClub departing from Oslo. At this time U.S. travelers are not allowed to visit Norway due to EU regulations.
- Croatia - Croatia opened its borders to visitors from the EU/EEA and the UK on July 1, 2020. Nationals from outside the EU may also apply online for an entry pass, including US nationals. Incoming travelers from the U.S. must produce a negative COVID PCR test taken less than 48 hours before arrival in Croatia.
- Montenegro - Montenegro welcomes U.S. tourists with a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72-hours of arrival.
- United Kingdom - The United Kingdom does not have entry restrictions, but a 14-day quarantine is in place for arriving travelers from the United States and a number of other countries.
What is the first port that you hope to visit when cruising resumes?