What We Know: Which Cruise Lines Will Require A COVID-19 Vaccine for Passengers and Crew?

Which cruise lines will require a COVID-19 vaccine for passengers or crew? - Photo by Canva
Latest Update: November 30, 2021

As cruise lines begin rolling out their new health and safety protocol prior to a return to sailing, vaccine requirements have been a major topic of discussion around the cruise industry. At this time, no industry requirement has been set by the CDC, however, lines have slowly been announcing their own requirements for passengers and crew regarding vaccines. The following is what we know so far regarding vaccine requirements by each cruise line. 

AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways will require all guests and crew to complete an online health questionnaire. At embarkation, temperature checks will be made and if any further testing is deemed necessary, passengers will be referred to a nearby shoreside medical center. All luggage handles will be sanitized prior to stateroom delivery. On July 27, Amawaterways announced that all cruises originating in the Netherlands will sail with vaccinated passengers only. 

For more information, please refer to AmaWaterways protocol information.

American Cruise Lines 

American Cruise Line will require a COVID-19 vaccine for all passengers sailing on any cruise after April 10, 2021. 

American Queen Steamboat Company & Victory Cruise Line

American Queen Steamboat Company and sister brand Victory Cruise Line announced that beginning July 1, 2021, all crew and passengers traveling with the lines, will be required to provide proof of the COVID-19 vaccination before sailing. This announcement made these two lines the first in North America to stipulate this requirement. Read More: Two North American Cruise Brands Announce Vaccine Requirements

Avalon Waterways 

Avalon will require all passengers to present digital or printed proof of vaccination prior to sailing with the line. 

Azamara 

All guests and crew ages 18 and over traveling with Azamara will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Carnival Cruise Line 

Carnival Cruise Line has announced a vaccine requirement for all cruises slated through the end of February 2022. However, there is an exemption process to accommodate a small number of guests (5%) who are unable or ineligible to be vaccinated.

Effective with Carnival sailings as of 10/24/21 guests will be considered fully vaccinated who have received their final dose of an authorized/approved COVID-19 vaccine, or any combination of two doses of an authorized/approved vaccine, i.e., AstraZeneca (1 dose) + Pfizer (1 dose) or Moderna (1 dose) at least 14 days before the sailing date. Acceptable vaccines are those that have been approved/authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or have emergency-use listing by the World Health Organization (WHO).

To accommodate new requirements instituted by the Bahamas, effective with embarkations on or after August 28, all cruises from all U.S. Atlantic and Gulf homeports will only allow vaccine exemptions to children under 12, and those with a medical condition that does not allow them to be vaccinated. The guest’s birth certificate or passport (for children), or a letter from a medical provider stating that the individual cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, must be presented at check-in, along with an exemption approval letter from Carnival. According to the line vaccine exemptions previously granted for upcoming sailings cannot be fulfilled due to these new limitations. If a guest has received an exemption approval for anyone in your party that does not meet the requirements of these two categories (under 12 or proven medical condition that prohibits vaccination), that exemption is no longer valid. Vaccine exemptions for ships departing from Long Beach, California will continue to be accepted for children under 12 and as required by U.S. federal law.

All passengers (regardless of vaccination status) are currently required to produce a negative viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 2 days of their embarkation date. 

Celebrity Cruises 

For all cruises before February 1, 2022: All crew and guests ages 12 years and older sailing with Celebrity Cruises must be fully vaccinated with all COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. Celebrity will not accept any form of Certificate of Recovery. 

For all cruises after February 1, 2022: Celebrity Cruises will require all guests 5 years of age and older be fully vaccinated to sail. At that time, unvaccinated children between the ages of two and four years old will be required to bring a negative Antigen or PCR test conducted within three days of boarding.

Celebrity accepts vaccines that are fully approved or authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization. The CDC will now also recognize as fully vaccinated, all guests with a mixed series of any two of the following vaccines taken within a minimum of 28 days between doses: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinovac or Sinopharm. 

All guests two years of age and older, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result at the time of embarkation. This test may be taken as either a PCR test or an Antigen test, conducted within 2 days of embarkation.  

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Ocean and Crystal Expedition will require that all guests who are eligible (ages 12 and up) for the COVID-19 vaccine are to be fully inoculated at least 14 days prior to boarding its ships for all cruises through 2022. 100% of all guests on Crystal River Cruises must have received the vaccine at least 14 days prior to sailing. Guests will be required to show proof of vaccine prior to boarding. 

This requirement is in addition to the Crystal Clean+ 4.0 measures, which include a negative COVID-19 test and a health screening questionnaire. Read More: Crystal Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement

Cunard 

For all cruises departing from October 13 to December 31, 2021, Cunard will require all guests 18 years old and over to have completed their vaccination a minimum of 14 days prior to sailing. All guests 17 years old and below will need to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days prior to sailing or will require a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to travel. All guests will also require a negative Covid-19 test at the terminal to board. 

Disney Cruise Line 

All guests ages 18+ sailing on Disney's 2021 Summer UK cruises will be required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination. 

From September 3 - November 1, 2021, all guests ages 12 and older on upcoming Disney Caribbean sailings must be fully vaccinated to board the ship. Guests under the age of 12 will be required to provide proof of a negative lab-based COVID-19 PCR test taken between 5 days - 24 hours prior to the sail date by uploading their test results to the line's Safe Passage Inspire website. They will also be required to undergo a second COVID-19 PCR test administered by Inspire Diagnostics at the terminal prior to boarding. This protocol matches orders from the Bahamas, which require all cruise ship passengers ages 12 and older to be fully vaccinated in order for a ship to be allowed entry into any of its cruise ports, including private islands like Disney Castaway Cay. 

Beginning January 13, 2022, Disney Cruise Line has announced that guests ages 5 and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for all departures. A SeaMail will be sent to affected Guests today to inform them of updates to Disney Cruise Line health and safety protocols, including a new COVID-19 vaccination policy for Guests ages 5-11 for sailings beginning on and after January 13, 2022, as well as updated information on accepted vaccine types. 

For Adventures by Disney departures on or after January 12, 2022, all Guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated before joining any trip. For departures beginning on or after January 12, 2022, proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result will no longer be accepted as an alternative.

Emerald Waterways 

Emerald Waterway will require all passengers to present proof of receiving the vaccine at least 14 days prior to cruising. 

Holland America Line

For all sailings through February 28, Holland America will require all passengers to have received the COVID-19 vaccine prior to cruising and to present proof prior to embarkation Additionally, as of Sept 13, 2021, all passengers will need to present a negative Covid test taken within 2 days of embarkation. 

MSC Cruises 

MSC Cruises highly recommends guests be fully vaccinated prior to sailing with the line. Guests who are not fully vaccinated will be required to purchase a Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19, MSC Cruises COVID-19 Testing & Related Services and will be subject to more stringent protocols which will be in place by the time you cruise. At the moment, these include but are not limited to the required purchase of MSC sponsored shore excursions in order to go ashore, required testing upon embarkation, while onboard and disembarkation for cruises 5-nights & longer. 

For Caribbean cruises with MSC, the Bahamas now requires all cruise guests (12 years and older) to be fully vaccinated beginning September 3, 2021, and such requirement is currently planned to remain in effect until November 1, 2021, at which point the policy may be updated. Accordingly, MSC Cruises will require guests ages 12 and older to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing.

MSC pre-cruise testing requirements:

  • All fully vaccinated guests (12 years and older) must provide a Negative RT-PCR or Negative NAAT or Negative antigen test taken no more than 2 days prior to departure.
  • Guests that are not fully vaccinated (ages 2-11) must provide a Negative RT-PCR or Negative NAAT test taken no more than 3 days prior to departure (antigen test will not be accepted for not fully vaccinated guests).
  • Telehealth self-tests taken at home will be accepted for fully vaccinated guests provided the following requirements are met:
    • The test must have Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. FDA.
    • The self-test process must happen under live supervision on a video call with a telehealth representative.
    • The telehealth provider must issue a result document that includes all the necessary information.
    • An example of one test that meets these parameters is the supervised Abbott BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card Test available through the Abbott Navica app or eMed.com. Note that this test kit must be shipped to the home in most cases and may take up to 5 business days to arrive (in the U.S.) after the order is placed.
Norwegian Cruise Line 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, will require all guests and crew to have received the COVID-19 vaccine prior to sailing for all cruises. According to an official statement from Norwegian by, "requiring full and complete vaccinations of guests and crew, the Company believes it shares in the spirit and exceeds the intent of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (“CSO”) to advance mutual public health goals and protect guests, crew and the communities it visits." 

Beginning January 17, 2022, NCL will eliminate COVID-19 testing at the terminal and instead require guests to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test result at least two calendar days prior to boarding for cruises originating in a U.S. port and at least three calendar days prior for cruises departing from a non-U.S. port. The COVID-19 antigen or PCR test must be administered by a verified third party.

Oceania 

Oceania will require all guests and crew to have received the COVID-19 vaccine prior to sailing. According to an official statement from parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, "requiring full and complete vaccinations of guests and crew, the Company believes it shares in the spirit and exceeds the intent of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (“CSO”) to advance mutual public health goals and protect guests, crew and the communities it visits." 

P&O Cruises

P&O will require passengers to have received the vaccination prior to boarding its Summer 2021 UK cruises departing from Southhampton. Passengers must have received both doses of the vaccine (if applicable) at least one week prior to sailing. 

Princess Cruises 

All passengers sailing with Princess through February 28, 2022, will be required to present proof of vaccine prior to cruising. The line will allow a small number of unvaccinated passengers to sail on a case-by-case basis. Guests (regardless of vaccination status) must present proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 2 days of embarkation. 

Effective October 21, guests cruising with Princess will be considered fully vaccinated who have received their final dose of an authorized/approved COVID-19 vaccine, or any combination of two doses of an authorized/approved vaccine at least 14 days before the beginning of the cruise. Acceptable vaccines are those that have been approved/authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or have an emergency-use listing by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Regent Seven Seas

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, the parent company of Regent Seven Seas, will require all guests and crew to have received the COVID-19 vaccine prior to sailing. According to an official statement from Norwegian by, "requiring full and complete vaccinations of guests and crew, the Company believes it shares in the spirit and exceeds the intent of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (“CSO”) to advance mutual public health goals and protect guests, crew and the communities it visits." 

Royal Caribbean International

For all sailings through March 31, 2022, Royal Caribbean guests ages 12 years and older are required to bring proof of vaccination, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 vaccination record card, with the final dose of the vaccine completed at least 14 days before sailing (not counting the sail date).  Guests under the age of 12, who are considered fully vaccinated, should follow the guidance for vaccinated guests. Unvaccinated children ages 2 to 11 must present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken no more than 3 days prior to sailing in order to board. There continues to be no testing required for guests under age 2.

In October, Royal Caribbean announced to match the CDC's stance on mixed vaccinations, they will now accept a mixed vaccine series consisting of doses from different manufacturers, as long as the vaccine series meets the following requirements for all sailings departing from the U.S.: Must consist of two doses of vaccines fully approved by emergency use by the FDA or World Health Organization: Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, AstraZenica, Sinovac, Sinopharm. The two doses must be administered at least 28 days apart, and the final dose should be completed at least 14 days before cruising. Note, some ports of call may not accept mixed vaccines and therefore could prevent guests with mixed vaccines from coming ashore. Effective Sept 13, 2021, all cruises departing U.S. ports require the following pre-cruise testing:

  • Vaccinated guests must present a negative PCR or Antigen test result taken no more than 2 days prior to sailing in order to board.  This was previously 3 days prior to sailing.
  • Unvaccinated children ages 2 to 11 must present a negative PCR test result taken no more than 3 days prior to sailing in order to board. (Antigen tests are no longer accepted.)
  • There continues to be no testing required for guests under age 2.
Seabourn

Seabourn will require proof of vaccination for its Summer 2021 Greek Isles cruises out of Athens. At this time the line has not announced vaccine requirements for additional sailings. 

SeaDream

At this time, no official announcement has been made by SeaDream regarding vaccine requirements for passengers or crew.  

Silverseas Cruises 

Silverseas has announced they will require all passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated prior to sailing. The vaccine requirement is for all sailings except for those departing from Australia.

Viking Ocean and River Cruises

Viking Ocean and River Cruises will require all passengers on its Icelandic, Bermuda, U.K., and Europe cruises to present proof of COVID vaccination. 

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages has announced that all passengers and crew must be vaccinated prior to boarding any Virgin Voyages ship. This official requirement will go into effect for all Virgin Voyages departures once the line begins sailing operations. Virgin has not specified details regarding what passengers will need to present to sail to prove they have received the vaccine. Read More: Virgin Voyages to Require COVID-19 Vaccine for All Passengers & Crew

Uniworld Cruises 

All guests traveling with Uniworld between  August 13, 2021 – December 31, 2021, must present proof they are fully vaccinated. For cruises departing before August 13, unvaccinated guests will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test upon embarkation, and vaccinated guests will only need to show proof of vaccination.

Windstar Cruises 

Windstar has announced all guests sailing with the line will be required to present proof of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to embarkation. 

 

2 Comments

Posted by GGmatexan

I'm surprised that Royal Caribbean says nothing about the crew being fully vaccinated.

Posted by GGmaRose

I'm shocked by MilissaJ's comment! I sat in the ICU with my husband of 48 years gasping to breath as this terrible virus killed a healthy 67 year old man! Luckily I didn't catch it, but I darn sure was vaccinated as soon as I could! The chances of some side effects are the same chances you take when you fill any RX ( just read the warnings if you don't believe me!). This virus kills in a way that is terrifying plus leaves the few survivors with lifelong issues in their hearts, lungs, etc. So yes, I agree that cruises should require both the crews and passengers to prove they care enough about each other's life to try and protect each other! It's obvious she hasn't lost anyone to this nasty virus.

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