Cruise lines have taken another major step toward reinstating universal cruising, with both Royal Caribbean and Carnival announcing that they are eliminating most vaccine requirements for cruises beginning September 5th or 6th for guests leaving from most ports, including Florida.
We’re now that much closer to returning to the days when the biggest health concern on the ship was eating undercooked shrimp at the midnight buffet.
Cruise Lines Relax Restrictions
Carnival And Royal Take The Lead
Testing and vaccination policies have been controversial in the industry, and cruise lines have taken baby steps to reopen to all passengers. Cruise lines now appear to feel confident enough to go for a full reopening.
Carnival is slightly more lenient than its major competitor. For cruises beginning September 6 or later, vaccinated guests (Yes, you will need to show proof.) on voyages less than 16 days will no longer have to show a negative test prior to boarding, with a few exceptions. Unvaccinated guests can still cruise, but they will have to show a negative test taken within three days of embarkation. For those people on the longer cruises, testing requirements will be specific to the itinerary.
Royal Caribbean’s most noticeable difference is that it is waiving the testing requirements for passengers on cruises of nine days or fewer. Unvaccinated guests over five or those who are traveling on longer voyages will still need to show a negative test within three days of embarkation. Interestingly, Royal announced that it would begin accepting self-tests administered at home, which seems to open the door to rapid antigen tests.
There Are Still Exceptions
There are still plenty of countries that have additional requirements, including vaccination. The new rules generally do not apply to cruises going to Canada or Bermuda. Singapore, New Zealand and Australia also have tougher restrictions. The bottom line is to check with your cruise line or travel agent before assuming that you’re good to go.