Last year a source of a lot of speculation in the cruising world was whether you’d require a vaccination to get on a cruise ship across the world and when they eventually return to Australia.
As the pandemic has progressed and getting vaccinated before getting on-board has become the norm, the question has instead shifted to whether you’ll be required to have your booster shot completed in order to hop on a cruise ship. And the answer seems to be yes.
Even destinations are starting to demand that passengers are triple vaxed.
Earlier this month, P&O Cruises and Cunard both added booster shot requirements for particularly long sailings.
P&O Cruises is requiring booster shots for a 35-night sailing to the Caribbean, despite the previous requirement for the sailing simply being to be fully vaccinated. Cunard Line followed suite with a similar policy for their 28-night Southampton to the Caribbean sailing, requiring booster shots in order to get on board, making reference to the “length and complexity” of the itinerary.
The Department of Public Health SAn Francisco has also instituted that cruise passengers that disembark at the port of San Francisco and are eligible for their booster shot, must have received it or will have to return a negative test before being allowed to enter the city.
This policy was introduced after the Ruby Princess arrived in the port with 12 passengers testing positive.
Furthermore, some smaller cruise lines such as UnCruiseAdventures, known for Alaskan sailings and luxury German cruise-line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises have both announced they’ll be mandating booster shots from February onwards. This potentially spells a sign of what’s to come for the broader cruise industry with some cruise commentators predicting that having your booster shot will eventually become the norm if you want to get on a cruise.
Uncruise said in a statement: “We’ve successfully operated in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii, and recent experience has proven a recipe for limited transmission with variants thus far.”
“We require a full vaccination to board, including a booster for all of those who are eligible, along with a negative molecular test.”
A similar movement began in the first half of last year, as a few lines slowly began to mandate vaccination and soon essentially all major cruise brands were requiring full vaccination before sailing.
Royal Caribbean has not yet instituted any booster policies, but has changed the language on their website to say: “We strongly recommend that fully vaccinated guests receive a booster dose when they become eligible to do so, though it is currently not required.”
Carnival Cruises uses similar language on their website: “We strongly encourage all guests who are eligible to get their booster vaccine at least seven days before boarding.”
Many cruise lines are now also requiring their crew to get a booster shot as soon as they are eligible.
Outside of cruise, this trend is also showing itself with the UAE recently instituting a booster shot requirement for citizens who want to travel and return to the country, the island of Maui in Hawaii requiring travellers to show proof a booster shot in order to dine indoors or visit bars and the French government announcing that travellers 18 and older must show proof of a booster shot within five to seven months of being fully vaccinated to obtain a French Health Pass, which allows for entry into bars, museums and more.
As far as current vaccination policies go for the major lines, here they are.
All adult passengers must be vaccinated, from March 1, all passengers over the age of five must be vaccinated.
Carnival Cruise Line
All Carnival passengers 12 and older must be vaccinated.
All Celebrity cruise passengers 12 and older must be vaccinated.
All passengers must be vaccinated, with some exceptions for young children. Until March 31, those 11 and younger will be able to board after returning a negative test. However, from April all passengers over five will be required to be vaccinated.
Until at least May 17, all Cunard passengers of any age must be vaccinated. As mentioned above, Cunard has also one sailing specific booster shot requirement.
All Holland America passengers must be vaccinated, regardless of age.
All Hurtigruten passengers must be vaccinated, regardless of age.
All Lindblad passengers of 12 years and older must be vaccinated.
All MSC passengers of 12 years and older must be vaccinated. Those 11 and younger can board if they return two negative tests.
Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL currently requires all passengers to be vaccinated with no exceptions. However, their current policy expires on Jan 16.
All Oceania passengers are required to be vaccinated, regardless of age.
Regent Seven Seas
All Regent passengers must be vaccinated, regardless of age.
All passengers above 12 must be vaccinated, however, those from five to 11 years of age will not be able to access all aspects of the ship while unvaccinated.
All Seabourn passengers are required to be vaccinated, regardless of age.
All Silversea passengers are required to be vaccinated, regardless of age.
All UnCruise passengers must be vaccinated and will now require booster shots for those who are eligible.
All Viking passengers must be vaccinated, regardless of age.
All Virgin Voyages passengers must be vaccinated, regardless of age.
All Windstar voyages passengers must be vaccinated, regardless of age.