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What Cruise Lines Allow Unvaccinated Guests

Sailing Msc Without The Vaccine

Cruise lines are hiking fares for unvaccinated passengers

MSCs policy toward vaccination is that while kids under 12 years old are allowed to sail unvaccinated, those older than that must have it. There is no mention of an exemption for medical reasons:

VACCINE REQUIREMENTS: All guests 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of embarkation.

You can view MSCs latest policies here.

Carnival Cruise Line Updates Protocols For Unvaccinated Passengers

Cruise Line & Cruise ShipCarnival Cruise LineDonald Wood June 23, 2022

Carnival Cruise Line announced updated rules and protocols for unvaccinated passengers sailing on its ships through the end of December.

The most notable changes include unvaccinated guests now being permitted to go ashore to enjoy one of Carnivals tours or independent sightseeing events. Several destinations still do not welcome unvaccinated travelers, as the cruise line revealed on its official website:

San Juan – age 12 and older will have to remain on board

Bonaire – age 12 and older will have to remain on board

Grand Cayman – age 12 and older will have to remain on board

St. Kitts – age 12 and older will have to remain on board

Tortola – age 12 and older will have to remain on board

Grand Turk – age 16 and older will have to remain on board

Cartagena, Colombia – age 18 and older will have to remain on board

The cruise line revealed certain destinations have continued to impose restrictions for unvaccinated passengers and cannot guarantee that more will not be added. All unvaccinated guests aged two and older must present a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 and 24 hours before the sailing date.

Regardless of the cruise length, antigen testing will be provided on a complimentary basis to children ages 2-4. Children ages 5-11 will be charged $60 per person and guests ages 12 and older will be charged $150 per person.

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Evolving Rules And Regulations

Getting to this point where cruises are embarking hasn’t been easy, and regulations are changing by the minute.

For instance, in October 2020, the CDC issued a “framework for conditional sailing order” saying that cruise lines could resume voyages if they follow health and safety rules, including a mandate that a cruise ship must have 98% of its crew and 95% of its passengers fully vaccinated, as well as protocols and policies for social distancing, reduced capacity, face masks, temperature screenings, Covid-19 testing and more.

But on June 18, a federal Florida judge ruled that the CDC’s orders were an overreach of power and issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the CDC from enforcing its guidelines in Florida. In April, the state had sued the CDC, demanding that it allow cruise lines to immediately resume sailing from U.S. ports.

Meanwhile, a new Texas state law says that businesses can’t require vaccines. It hasn’t been determined if this will apply to cruise lines, but Carnival Cruise Line is still planning to start fully vaccinated voyages out of Galveston on July 3.

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What Is A Hedge How Does It Work

Virgin Voyages, a fledgling cruise line sailing one of its two ships, the Scarlet Lady, out of Miami, dropped the pre-cruise testing requirement after the CDC stopped monitoring covid on cruise ships. Now, the cruise brand owned by billionaire Richard Branson has quietly decided to allow some unvaccinated “sailors,” as it calls its passengers, on its upcoming voyages.

The company shared that information in an email that was sent to people booked on upcoming sailings.

“Were still requiring that the majority of Sailors be vaccinated, but were opening up our voyages for a limited number of unvaccinated Sailors to join us. Our Crew will remain fully vaccinated as they are now. As always, your safety is our first priority, so we will continue with our other protocols to keep you well while enjoying your relaxing vacation,” the cruise line shared in the email.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

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Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line requires all guests 12 and older to be fully vaccinated and present proof of vaccination.

Cruisers ages 3 through 11 must provide negative Covid test results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours of sailing and take an antigen test at the cruise terminal on embarkation day at their family’s expense. The cost is $75 per person for this test at the terminal.

If guests are unable to provide a PCR test, one can be done at the port. The cost of this is $150 per person non-refundable and will be charged to their onboard account.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s original policy was that unvaccinated travelers should get tested at least three days before their trip, as well as after. The cruise line recommends all unvaccinated travelers self quarantine for a week after travel.

In addition, the Bahamas requires Cruise & Stay and one-way travelers to Freeport to present a Bahamas Health Travel Visa.

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Sailing Virgin Voyages Without The Vaccine*

Until recently, Virgin Voyages had a simple policy. As an adults-only cruise line, Virgin required everyone on the ship to be vaccinated. Now that policy has changed to 90% of passengers, allowing 10% of those onboard to sail unvaccinated with an exemption.

Passengers can call the cruise line at 954-488-2955 to ask about sailing without having the shot. There is no mention of needing a reason to be eligible for an exemption.

You can view Virgin Voyages latest policies here.

Sailing Disney Without The Vaccine

While most cruise lines allow kids under 12 to sail unvaccinated, Disney known for being a family focused line requires kids aged 5 and older to be vaccinated in order to sail.

Currently, Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , at the time of sailing. This is a requirement for all Guests ages 5 and older.

There is no exemption policy mentioned for children or adults.

You can view Disneys latest policies here.

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Less Crowded Ships And Ports

If you can find a cabin on a ship, it could be a great time to sail due to the current capacity reductions required by the CDC, says Lisa McGregor, owner of Passport Pleasures Luxury Travel, a Florida-based agency that specializes in cruise voyages.

“Just like when we were flying last year and the planes were empty, now you have an opportunity to sail with fewer people and have a lot more breathing room,” says McGregor.

Another perk, according to Sloan: “The ports that cruises visit also are less crowded than usual, so you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Many of the places cruise ships go rely heavily on tourism to survive, and they haven’t had much business in more than a year. They are thrilled that cruise ships are coming back.”

First Major Us Cruise Line Encourages Unvaccinated Guests To Sail

Unvaccinated guests on Royal Caribbean cruises face different rules
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Carnival Corporation brand, Princess Cruises, has become the first major North American cruise line to drop the green flag for unvaccinated cruisers.

On an update to their health and protocol page on July 14, the line said, We want to make sailing with Princess Cruises as easy, hassle-free, and safe as possible, regardless of your vaccination status, which is why we rigorously follow guidelines from governmental, health and regulatory organizations throughout the world.

With the recent easing of CDC vaccination requirements, the options available to unvaccinated guests continue to expand.

It went on to say, We can now accommodate up to 10% of unvaccinated guests on most sailings without burdensome exemptions or vaccine status justification, available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Previously, for approval, guests had to apply for a medical exemption that had to be backed by a note from the guests doctor. The new policy allows anyone the opportunity to sail, regardless of vaccination status.

The exception to the Rule

There is an exception to the rule for voyages that call to Canada.

The line says, Please note that cruises that begin, end or visit Canada will require sailing guests ages 12 and above who are not Canadian citizens be fully vaccinated, unless they are granted a medical exemption.

Regardless, a negative test result is still required on all Princess voyages through a PCR, Antigen, or NAAT test.

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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.

Applying For Vaccine Exemptions

If youre part of a group that is typically required to sail with the vaccine then youll likely have to apply for an exemption. After all, if cruise lines want to stay above a certain threshold of vaccinated passengers, then they need to know who is sailing without the shot.

Applying for an exemption isnt hard. For some its an online form that you fill out. Others require you to call the cruise line. But just because you apply for an exemption doesnt automatically mean you qualify. It is possible that you could be denied.

Since some cruise lines operate on a first-come, first-served basis, its a good idea to book and contact the line early if you plan to apply for an exemption.

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Checking In With Your Doctor

If you are deciding whether or not to sail, discuss your health risks with your doctor, stay up to date on where Americans can travel and seek guidance from the CDC, the World Health Organization and other health authorities.

According to Dr. Robert L. Quigley, senior vice president and global medical director of International SOS, the best way to protect yourself and others is to get fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to your trip.

“On the ship itself, the CDC recommends maintaining six feet of social distance from anyone who is not traveling with you, both indoors and outdoors,” says Quigley. “And when engaging in activities with other passengers, be sure to also wear a mask, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wash your hands frequently, particularly after touching any surface.”

Choosing your destination wisely is also important, says Quigley. “Places with low Covid-19 infection rates and/or high vaccination rates should represent the lowest risk to you in your travels. Clearly multiple port stops, as part of the cruise, only increases your chance of exposure,” says Quigley. “So do some research ahead of time.”

Major Cruise Line Drops Vaccine Requirement From Us Ports

Royal Caribbean Lists Closed Venues for Unvaccinated Guests on Freedom ...
  • Publish date: Jul 22, 2022 5:26 PM EDT

As the cruise industry has made its way back from its covid-related March 2020 through July 2021 closure, a lot of people have put off cruising until it returned to “normal.” That’s a relative word, however, as your normal and my normal may not be the same.

Some people waited to cruise until masks were no longer required while others won’t step onboard until every covid-related protocol goes away. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control stopped tracking the presence of covid on ships and issued a new set of guidelines for the cruise industry. These included recommendations that ships continue to require pre-cruise testing and for passengers to be vaccinated.

Here’s what the CDC currently recommends when it comes to vaccines.

“CDC recommends all eligible travelers be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines. In addition to the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide to individual travelers in preventing severe illness or death from COVID-19, having a high proportion of travelers on board who are up to date with COVID-19 vaccines reduces the likelihood that cruise ships medical centers are overwhelmed by cases of COVID-19.”

The guidance also makes it clear that 90% is what a “high proportion” of travelers means. That number has come down from 95% and it was generally believed to be a number to account for kids too young to get vaccinated to be onboard.


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American Queen Steamboat Company

Who Needs to Be Vaccinated: All passengers, no exceptions, need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Are Any Unvaccinated Passengers Able to Sail? No.

Is A Pre-Arrival COVID-19 Test Required? All passengers will undergo a complimentary COVID-19 test during the pre-cruise hotel stay prior to embarkation.

Is A Pierside, Pre-Embarkation COVID-19 Test Required? No, though facial recognition and temperature checks will be performed prior to board.

Masks and Physical Distancing Requirements: Masks are not required.

Crew Vaccinated?: Yes — American Queen is even vaccinating its shoreside employees.

What To Know In General About Vaccine Rules And Cruising

Before we get into how to sail, there are some general things you should know regarding vaccinations and cruises.

First, in general cruise lines do require most passengers to have the shot. So no matter which line you sail, your fellow passengers will almost all be vaccinated. And before you think this is just the cruise line rules in action, realize that many countries have rules regarding who can visit their country based on vaccine status. That impacts the policies cruise lines put in place.

However, there are some exceptions regarding who has to have the shot.

For one, cruise lines have more relaxed rules for children under 12 years old. Its common across cruise lines to allow passengers under 12 to sail freely without needing vaccination. So if you are sailing with a smaller child that you dont want to be vaccinated, then thats normally not an issue.

In addition, some lines offer exemptions for passengers that are older than 12 that have medical or religious beliefs that prevent being vaccinated. So if you qualify on one of these grounds, its more likely youll be able to sail.

Finally, at this time cruise lines sailing vaccinated cruises typically put the level at 90% of passengers. So while 90% of eligible passengers need the shot, they do allow 10% to sail without. This 10% includes all passengers aged five years old and up .

When Do Cruise Lines Still Require Covid

Carnival Cruise Line will require testing for vaccinated passengers 2 years and older only on sailings six days or longer as of Aug. 4, according to its website. Guests can test up to three days before their voyage.

Unvaccinated passengers 2 years and older will need to provide proof of negative test results from a test taken within three days of embarkation for any sailing. They will also need to have a vaccine exemption if they are age 5 and older.

Royal Caribbean Group will require testing for vaccinated guests only on trips lasting six nights or more beginning Aug. 8. Unvaccinated guests will need to test for all sailings, a spokesperson told USA TODAY via email. Passengers will need to test within three days of embarkation.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. previously announced in July that it would drop pre-cruise testing where local rules allowed, but the rule change did not apply to the U.S. Norwegian Cruise Line is still requiring tests for sailings from the U.S., a spokesperson told USA TODAY.

Vaccinated guests age 2 and older must show a negative test taken within two or three days of embarkation depending on the type of test, per Norwegian’swebsite, or proof of recovery from COVID. Unvaccinated passengers between ages 2 and 11 need to have a negative NAAT test taken within three days of embarkation, in addition to antigen testing at both embarkation and disembarkation .

Passengers 12 and up who are not vaccinated are not permitted to sail.

Sailing Royal Caribbean Without The Vaccine

New Cruise Requirements for Unvaccinated Passengers must pay $150 for COVID-19 testing and trave…

For cruises departing the United States, Royal Caribbean says that all guests 12 and older must have the shot.

All Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing. Kids age 11 or younger who have been vaccinated may present proof of full vaccination and follow the protocols for vaccinated guests. While we do not require kids 11 or younger than to be vaccinated, many are and it is highly likely destinations will begin to require guests age 5 and older to be vaccinated.

There is no mention of adults being able to sail with an exemption to having the shot.

You can view Royal Caribbeans latest policies here.

One Final Note About Cruising Unvaccinated

As a reminder, with the CDC lifting its voluntary program, its possible that rules around vaccine requirements could ease in the coming weeks and months. That means if you dont have the shot, then you might have more options to sail in the future.

That said, by far the easiest and healthiest way to take a cruise right now is to simply be vaccinated. It offers you the ability to sail any line at any time, without having to go through an exemption process.

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