Dancers on Quantum of the Seas with masks on
Dancers on Quantum of the Seas with masks on

Cruising to confusion as lines struggle with united vaccine policy

Cruisers from Canada and the United Kingdom may be unable to sail on a number of lines if they have mixed their vaccinations, while others in America are facing stiff COVID test payments of $180 a time.

As Australian lines remain paused and have yet to reveal their policies towards vaccination, elsewhere cruise ship companies are chopping and changing the rules.

It’s a big issue.  Nine our of ten Cruise Passenger readers in recent polling put a fully vaccinated crew and passengers at the top of their list of things they would require before booking.

Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line last week revealed they would not consider cruisers fully vaccinated if they have received a mix of COVID-19 vaccinations including AstraZeneca.

The move has left many Canadians and Britons who have received mixed doses alongside AstraZeneca upon the recommendations of their home countries, wondering what will happen to their cruises.

The cruise lines are still accepting passengers who have received two different mRNA vaccines (Pfeizer and Moderna), but travellers who have received a vector vaccine like AstraZeneca and one mRNA vaccine will be unable to travel.

Princess said on its American website that, “Guests who have received one single dose of a vector vaccine (e.g. AstraZeneca) and one single dose of a mRNA vaccine (e.g. Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna) will not be considered fully vaccinated. Guests who have received two single doses of mixed vaccines that are the same type (e.g., mRNA) will be considered fully vaccinated and will be permitted to sail, so long as the final dose is received at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise.”

Holland America Line says passengers who have had one dose of a vector vaccine like AstraZeneca, and one mRNA vaccine (like Pfizer) will not be considered vaccinated. But passengers who have received two different mRNA vaccines (Pfizer/Moderna) will be.

Carnival too has banned passengers with mixed vaccinations that involve one does of AstraZeneca.

But Norwegian Cruise Line said on its American website that any vaccine mixing will result in passengers being considered unvaccinated. But the rule only applies to US ports of embarkation.

“Passengers on ships embarking or disembarking at US ports need to be vaccinated with FDA approved vaccines. Mixed Pfizer / Moderna double vaccine shots are not approved by the FDA,” said NCL on its website.

“All Other Vessels will accept any U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA), or World Health Organization (WHO) authorized single brand vaccination protocol. Or a mixed vaccination protocol of only AstraZeneca-SK Bio, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna combinations.”

While mixing doses is common in the United Kingdom and Canada, the US does not recognise vaccine mixing and only recognises vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.