Can I Go On A Cruise If I’m Not Vaccinated
The requirements depend on the cruise line. Here’s what to know about setting sail without a COVID-19 vaccination.
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health news. Before CNET, she worked in local journalism covering public health issues, business and music.
Like many businesses attempting to regain shape as we close out year two of a global pandemic, cruise lines have started setting sail again — with some strict health measures in place. That’s because cruise ships, with their tight quarters, buffet-style living and international travel, can be a breeding ground for the coronavirus.
As is true for most travel restrictions these days, your ability to book a cruise may depend on your vaccination status. If you chose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, can you still go on your favorite cruise vacation?
If you’re an adult in the US, the answer is probably not, unless you’re one of the few people with a medical or religious exemption .
Before you book — and especially if you’re looking at cruises months ahead — it’s important to consider the spread of COVID-19 in countries or ports where your ship will stop, and that’s regardless of your vaccination status. It’s also important to consider who’s coming with you. Children as young as age 5 are now able to get vaccinated, so your ability to cruise may depend on whether you’ve chosen to get your child vaccinated.
Here’s what we know about cruising unvaccinated for now.
How Do I Prove That Im Vaccinated If Its Required
In many cases even though passengers can now sail without the shot, proof is still needed if you are vaccinated. Thats because passengers with the vaccine often dont need to test before sailing, while those without it still need to test negative before sailing.
The easiest way to show youve been vaccinated is to hang on to the white CDC vaccination card you should have received when you got the shot. We suggest keeping the original in a safe place and also making a copy so that you can always have a version should something happen to the original.
Some cruise lines will accept a digital record of your dose or an image of your shot card. To be sure, however, all cruise lines will accept the paper card, making it the easiest way to prove youve had the vaccine.
How Do I Prove That I’m Vaccinated If It’s Required
In many cases even though passengers can now sail without the shot, proof is still needed if you are vaccinated. That’s because passengers with the vaccine often don’t need to test before sailing, while those without it still need to test negative before sailing.
The easiest way to show you’ve been vaccinated is to hang on to the white CDC vaccination card you should have received when you got the shot. We suggest keeping the original in a safe place and also making a copy so that you can always have a version should something happen to the original.
Some cruise lines will accept a digital record of your dose or an image of your shot card. To be sure, however, all cruise lines will accept the paper card, making it the easiest way to prove you’ve had the vaccine.
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Cruise Lines That Dont Require Covid Vaccines
Do you have to be vaccinated to go on a cruise? The answer is quickly changing, but it depends.
The long answer is that vaccine requirements vary by cruise line, cruise ship, and departure port/destination. Currently, major cruise lines are re-evaluating their Covid protocols, including requiring passengers to be vaccinated. This is largely in part due to Covid becoming far less deadly, and society’s desire to move past the lockdowns and restrictions.
Many U.S.-based cruise lines restarted cruises with mainly vaccinated guests, and the vaccination requirement remains in place for these lines. Some lines have even begun requiring children be vaccinated, such as Disney Cruise Line. Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, allows unvaccinated kids on their ships. However, lines that planned to welcome unvaccinated adults have had to get stricter about vaccine requirements to adhere to new government policies.
Heres the current list of cruise lines that do not require Covid vaccines to sail, for travelers who cannot or choose not to get the shot.
August 22, 2022
Do You Need The Covid Shot To Take A Disney Cruise
Disney Cruise Line itself no longer requires vaccinations just to board its cruise ships. The cruise line advises that Full vaccination not required but highly recommended.
Though there is no direct requirement from the cruise line to be immunized, travelers must always ensure they meet any governmental requirements in order to board the ship or to disembark at a particular port-of-call during the cruise. Some countries may have regulations that are more strict than those onboard the ship itself.
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What Does ‘fully Vaccinated’ Mean
It seems most cruise lines are following the CDC’s definition of fully vaccinated, which means two weeks have passed since your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or since your one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. It’s possible a cruise line may accept one shot of a viral vector vaccine, such as AstraZeneca, and one shot of an mRNA vaccine, but this practice of mixing for a COVID-19 vaccine primary series isn’t authorized yet in the US.
Some cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, accept vaccines recommended or approved by the World Health Organization as well as the CDC. This includes vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Sinovac. See the full list of vaccines approved by the WHO here.
Bottom line: If you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 outside of the US, check with your cruise line to make sure they accept your vaccine before putting any money down. It’s also important to know that while all adults in the US are now eligible for boosters, the definition of “fully vaccinated” hasn’t changed and you don’t need an extra shot to be considered fully vaccinated.
All guests, regardless of vaccination status, should expect to be tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding a cruise ship.
Msc Cruises Vaccine Policy
MSC is a popular choice for passengers looking for relatively affordable fares. The cruise line has a limited but growing presence in the U.S., with cruises from Florida and New York.
MSCs policy toward vaccination for sailing from the United States is that while kids under 12 years old are allowed to sail unvaccinated, those older than that must have the shot.
However, the cruise line did recently relax testing requirements for vaccinated passengers, with a reference that vaccine rules could also drop sometime in the future:
MSC Cruises will continue to monitor pandemic conditions and port requirements outside of the U.S., with a goal to relax testing and vaccination protocols to open cruising to all guests, while prioritizing the health and safety of its guests, crew and destinations.
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Vaccines Masks And Testing: What Cruise Lines Require Now
Cruise lines have begun modifying their vaccination and testing policies surrounding COVID-19, with numerous cruise lines once again allowing unvaccinated passengers to set sail as of September 2022, provided they test negative for COVID-19 first.
Also, fully vaccinated passengers now no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to setting sail on many voyages.
Keep in mind, however, that policies on testing and vaccination requirements vary from cruise line to cruise line, and that sailings to, from, or calling on ports in Canada, Bermuda, Greece, Australia and New Zealand will still require most passengers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As protocols change rapidly, here is our rundown of current cruise line COVID-19 practices and policies:
How Cruise Lines Covid Vaccination And Testing Rules Have Changed
When cruise lines restarted operations in summer 2021, after being banned by the CDC from operating for 15 months due to COVID-19-related safety concerns, it was with strict CDC-imposed regulations. They included vaccination requirements for anyone age 12 and up , precruise testing requirements, mandatory masking in public areas, social distancing, and other measures the CDC said would help contain the spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships.
After two years of first banning and then advising against cruising due to pandemic-related health and safety risks, in late March 2022, the CDC dropped its warning to travelers about the health risks of cruising during the COVID pandemic.
In May, the CDC scaled back slightly on its tough restrictions for cruise lines by allowing ships to declare themselves as highly vaccinated if 90 percent of passengers and at least 95 percent of crew were vaccinated. Previously, the number was 95 percent for passengers. The change allowed more unvaccinated children who didnt yet qualify for a vaccine or had not obtained a vaccine to come onboard during the summer.
The agency provided the cruise lines with greater leeway to set and monitor their own policies. Consequently, most cruise lines opted to make masks optional. But the CDC still maintained a close watch, publishing a color-coded chart of ship outbreaks that it updated regularly.
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Do Disney Cruises Require Vaccinations
For the past few years, travel requirements for vaccinations, masking, and COVID-19 testing seem to have been a moving target. Requirements seemed to change almost weekly, and its been easy to become a bit confused about whether Disney Cruises require vaccinations, COVID-19 testing, or masks.
Among all the types of vacations, cruises can be especially confusing in this regard. For example, a U.S. citizen taking an Alaskan Cruise with Disney typically flies from a U.S. airport to a Canadian airport, boards a Bahamian-registered ship at a Canadian port, visits several U.S. ports of call , then returns to a Canadian port before flying back to the U.S. via a Canadian airport.
So lets try to sort out all of the requirements. Fortunately, theyve gotten markedly simpler over the past few months.
Note: Information in this article is accurate as of November 7, 2022. Be sure to check your official Disney Cruise documentation or Disney Cruise Lines Know Before You Go website to ensure youre up-to-date on the latest regulations regarding your sailing. Also, please note that the information article generally refers to requirements for U.S. Citizens traveling from a U.S. port those who are citizens of or who are sailing from another country should ensure theyre aware of any applicable requirements.
If Cruises Sail With Vaccinated & Unvaccinated Passengers Is Everything Back To Normal
Even before the dropping of vaccine requirements, the passenger experience on the ship was largely back to normal. Now that vaccine requirements are dropping for many lines, you can say that cruising is now like it was before the pandemic.
Want to have a drink at the bar and chat up your fellow passengers? You can do that. Enjoy dinner, shows, the casino, ports of call, and more. While much has changed behind the scenes, the experience on the ship is largely identical to what it was before.
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Why Should People Get Vaccinated Before Going On A Cruise
Not only will being fully vaccinated help protect you from getting seriously ill with COVID-19, it can help protect those around you, Dr. Russo says.
There’s also this to consider: Many cruise lines test guests before they get on the boat and before they disembark. “If you or a member of your party tests positive, you won’t be able to get on the boat at the last minute,” Dr. Russo points out. “You may also have to quarantine if you get infected on the boat and, if you’re outside the country, you’ll need to have a negative COVID test to get back in. If you get infected, you’ll have to hang out in a hotel somewhere for 10 days or so.”
Overall, Dr. Russo says, it’s just better to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before going on a cruise. “You really should get vaccinated,” he says.
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Where they sail: Regent Seven Seas offers all-inclusive luxury cruises around the globe, which include perks like free airfare, free excursions, and complimentary unlimited drinks on board.
Who needs the vaccine: All guests are now welcome. Unvaccinated passengers will be required to test 3-days before embarkation.
What other safety measures are in place: Pre-departure testing may not be necessary depending on the port. Currently cruises leaving from Bermuda, Canada, and Greece will require a test.
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When You Travel With Us We’ve Got You Covered
Book a Celebrity cruise thats sailing on or before April 30, 2022 and youll have the following reassurance at no extra charge:
- 100% cruise fare refund for you, and your Traveling Party, if any of you tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days prior to the cruise or at the boarding terminal.**
- Pro-rated cruise fare refund for anyone who has their cruise cut short due to testing positive for COVID-19 or being suspected of having COVID-19 during the cruise.
Provided by Manulife Travel Insurance
Choose the plan that’s right for you:
What To Know Before You Cruise
Vaccine and pretrip testing requirements can be confusing, especially if you are cruising internationally. Cruise lines have their own rules countries have their own rules. And the rules are constantly changing.
Before your trip, you will need to review your cruise lines health and safety protocols. You may be required to arrive at your ship with a negative COVID-19 test result in hand or not. And you may have to be vaccinated or not. Depending on the cruise line, fully vaccinated can mean having received the original series at least 14 days prior to your cruise, or the original series plus a booster shot.
In you are an unvaccinated adult, some cruise lines will now let you sail, others will not. If you are allowed onboard, you will need to be tested precruise, which is required for unvaccinated children as well.
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Dropping Cdc Programs Means An Easing Of Vaccine Rules
Up until July 2022, cruise lines followed the CDCs voluntary program for Covid protocols on cruise ships. However, the health agency ended that program, giving cruise lines more leeway on how to implement their own rules around things like testing and vaccines.
As the world has learned to live alongside the virus, restrictions have eased around the world and on cruise ships. This includes dropping testing requirements for vaccinated passengers and allowing unvaccinated passengers to sail again in many cases .
Even so, some cruise lines still have vaccine requirements for some cruises. Since cruise lines sail to multiple countries, they have to adhere to the rules set out by those places. So a line may let unvaccinated sail on some cruises, but not others. That makes it easier to simply have the vaccine and be allowed to sail no matter where the ship goes.
As well, you should know that if there are vaccine requirements, they are usually relaxed for children under 12 years old. Its common across cruise lines to allow passengers under 12 to sail freely without needing the shot. So if you are sailing with a smaller child that you dont want to be vaccinated, then thats normally not an issue.
Still, each cruise line has made their own policies, which can make it more difficult for passengers to understand whats required. To help you out, weve highlighted all the latest announced policies from major cruise lines below.
Which Vaccines Are Accepted To Cruise
There are a number of vaccines available around the world. While each cruise line might accept different ones, the major vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca — all seem to have wide acceptance. If you have received one of these shots, then you should be good to go. However, your cruise line will have more details about which specific shots they accept.
If you don’t have the shot, then cruise lines are easing rules in that you don’t have to be vaccinated to sail in many cases.
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Which Cruise Lines Have A Covid Vaccine Requirement
Find out which cruise lines require guests or crew to be vaccinated before being allowed to go on a cruise.
More and more cruise lines are now taking up the need for cruise passengers to be vaccinated. Well keep track of this growing list of cruise lines that have issued a vaccine mandate for passengers and even crew members.
What If I Have A Certificate Of Recovery
Some countries issue “certificates of recovery” if someone has been infected with COVID-19 and recovered, issuing a certificate that proves a positive COVID-19 test and recovery, instead of vaccination as someone’s proof of immunity. The European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate, for example, includes certification of recovery from COVID-19.
For guests departing outside of the US who are cruising with Royal Caribbean, they may present a certificate of recovery. If you’re not in the US and have a certificate of recovery, contact your desired cruise line before purchasing the cruise.
The US doesn’t issue certificates of recovery at this time, so telling the cruise line you already had COVID-19 won’t get you a vaccine exemption.
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