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After a difficult year, cruises are finally setting sail again. Many of the major cruise lines are requiring passengers show proof of Covid-19 vaccination before boarding. For those anxious to resume cruising, getting your Covid-19 vaccine will make it easier to board most ships. Make sure and laminate the CDC card you are given when leaving the vaccination site.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation is that both passengers and crew be vaccinated before boarding cruise ships. In this blog, we break down the cruise lines requiring Covid-19 vaccination, as well as what travelers need to know when taking their next cruise.

American Cruise Lines

Where they sail: American Cruise Lines sails up and down U.S. rivers on both coasts, including the Mississippi River and the Columbia and Snake rivers, and visits over 30 states.

Who needs the vaccine: Vaccines are currently required for all cruise departures through April 30th. Vaccines may or may not be required for all 2021 cruises, as requirements may vary depending on where a cruise is sailing and date of departure.

What other safety measures are in place: Ships are currently operating at 75% capacity and each ship has the ability to test passengers onboard.

Celebrity Cruises

Where they sail: Celebrity Cruises sails all over the world and is planning several itineraries for this summer. Celebrity will debut its new ‘Celebrity Apex’ ship in Greece in June, as well as set sail from St. Maarten on its renovated Celebrity Millennium starting this June.

Who needs the vaccine: Passengers18 and older must be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. Those under 18 (and older than 2 years old) will be required to show proof of a negative RT-PCR test.

What other safety measures are in place: Celebrity has added more doctors and nurses to their ships along with critical care beds and rapid testing. Passengers will only be allowed off the ship on a Celebrity shore excursion.

Crystal Cruises

Where they sail: Crystal will sail seven-night trips from Nassau and Bimini starting in July on the Crystal Serenity, as well as sail 10-night cruises from St. John’s in Antigua in August.

Who needs the vaccine: Crystal will require all passengers be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to the vaccine, passengers will have to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding and wear masks when appropriate. In the event someone gets sick, Crystal’s ships will be equipped with ventilators and PCR testing equipment.

Grand Circle Cruise Line

Where they sail: Grand Circle Cruise Line sails small ships and river cruises all over the world, including an extensive list of European itineraries. The cruise line plans to start sailing again in August, including to Greece, Turkey, and Italy.

Who needs the vaccine: All passengers must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. All crew will be fully vaccinated as well.

What other safety measures are in place: All ships have been equipped with High Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filters and buffets have been eliminated.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Where they sail: Norwegian sails big ocean cruises all around the world, including popular itineraries all throughout the Caribbean. This summer, the cruise line plans to sail from Montego Bay, Jamaica; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Athens, Greece.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests will be required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding for sailings through at least Oct. 31, 2021.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccines, guests will be required to undergo a rapid antigen test before boarding as well as a second rapid antigen test before disembarking. Guests will be required to wear face masks indoors as well as outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible. Each ship will have a dedicated Public Health Officer on board as well as an Infectious Disease Prevention Officer.

Oceania Cruises

Where they sail: Oceania Cruises sails all over the world, including offering several World Cruise itineraries. The cruise company has paused operations through at least July 31, 2021.

Who needs the vaccine: When cruises do resume, all passengers will be required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: Passengers will be required to undergo a rapid antigen test before boarding as well as a second rapid antigen test before disembarking. Initially, the company will “control the guest capacity onboard” as well as have a Public Health Officer and Infectious Disease Prevention Officer on board.

Royal Caribbean International  

Where they sail: Royal Caribbean sails large ocean ships all over the world, including many popular itineraries throughout the Caribbean and Asia. This summer, Royal Caribbean will sail from the Bahamas, Cyprus, and Israel.

Who needs the vaccine: Guests 18 and older will be required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. Guests under 18 must show proof of a negative RT-PCR test.

What other safety measures are in place: Royal Caribbean has upgraded the air filtration systems on its ships and uses electrostatic fogging to clean. Crew members are also required to be vaccinated.

P&O Cruises

Where they sail: The UK-based cruise line sails around Europe, including to the Canary Islands, as well as to the Caribbean from Southampton in the UK. This summer, the company plans to offer a series of short cruises for UK residents from their home port in Southampton.

Who needs the vaccine: All passengers who plan to join one of the summer UK sailings must be vaccinated at least seven days before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: Masks will be required on board when appropriate, and all shore excursions will be with vetted operators.

Princess Cruises

Where they sail: The global cruise line sails large ocean ships all around the world, from Australia to Alaska. This summer, the company will offer a series of ‘Summer Seacations’ from Southampton, sailing around the UK coast.

Who needs the vaccine: All passengers will be required to be fully vaccinated at least seven days before boarding a “Summer Seacations” cruise. There is currently no vaccination requirement for other Princess Cruises going forward.

What other safety measures are in place: Crew members will undergo strict testing and quarantine, and guests will only be allowed on shore excursions that are “researched and organized by Princess Cruises.”

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. The company is also offering free multi-day land extensions before and after sailings for several cruises leaving between October 2021 and March 2022.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccinations, all guests will be required to take a rapid antigen test before boarding as well as a second test before disembarking the ship. All staterooms will be cleaned with “intensive non-toxic microbial disinfection” each day.

Seabourn

Where they sail: Seabourn’s mid-size luxury cruises head all around the world, from Alaska to the Caribbean. This summer, Seabourn will sail 7-day cruises from Greece.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests on the summer Greece sailings must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests will have to be tested before boarding and masks will be required when social distancing is not possible. Only shore excursions that “comply with our prescribed protocols” will be allowed.

Silversea

Where they sail: Silversea brings guests all around the world, including to the Galapagos and Antartica.  Silversea plans to sail 10-day itineraries to the Eastern Mediterranean from Greece starting June 18.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated before boarding, except for cruises departing from Australia.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests and crew will be tested before boarding a ship and those wishing to leave the ship will only be able to do so on a “verified shore excursion.” All ships have an Infection Control Officer.

Victory Cruise Lines

Where they sail: Victory Cruise Lines is known for its Great Lakes cruises, providing all-inclusive sailings to see breathtaking sights from Niagara Falls to the iconic architecture of Chicago from Lake Michigan. Beyond the U.S., Victory Cruise Lines sails to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew will be required to be vaccinated on sailings starting July 1, 2021.

What other safety measures are in place: Guests must check in to a hotel before their cruise and be tested. Before boarding, guests must undergo a temperature check and have their luggage disinfected. Staterooms are disinfected with electrostatic fogging twice each day, and masks are required when social distancing is not possible.

Viking

Where they sail: Viking sails ocean and river cruises all over the world, including throughout Europe. This summer, Viking will sail around England for UK residents, as well as to Bermuda and Iceland in June.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be fully vaccinated to board one of the summer cruises.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccines, all guests will be required to undergo a saliva PCR test at embarkation as well as “frequent” testing throughout the journey. All staterooms are equipped with independent air handling units.

Virgin Voyages

Where they sail: The brand-new cruise line is launching ‘mini-sailings’ from England for UK residents this summer — called the “Summer Soiree Series” — ahead of its official launch later in 2021.

Who needs the vaccine: All passengers will be required to be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding the summer UK sailings.

What other safety measures are in place: All luggage will be “fogged down” to clean it before bringing it on board and air purification systems that disinfect air have been installed.

Windstar Cruises

Where they sail: Windstar operates small-ship cruises and several sailing vessels all around the globe, including to places like Central America.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests will be required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding one of Windstar’s yachts.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests must also undergo a COVID-19 rapid antigen test at the pier before boarding, and electrostatic sprayers using hospital-grade, EPA-approved sanitizing solutions will be used on surfaces and in public spaces on the ships. All crew will be tested with a PCR test each week. Guests who want to leave the ship will need to do so on a Windstar shore excursion. Windstar also offers the option of getting tested for a fee before disembarking in order to comply with border testing requirements.

As always, we recommend that before you book your cruise, that you visit the CDC’s website where you can research different cruise ships to see how they performed in their last inspection. These random inspections verify that ships are maintaining a healthy and safe environment on board. Now in a post-Covid world, this type of preparedness and vigilance is key when booking your next cruise.

Source: Travel + Leisure Magazine

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