Return to cruising: Important things to consider.

Return to cruising: Important things to consider.

Last Updated on April 5, 2022 by tripcentral

Who is required to be vaccinated on a cruise ship?

All cruise lines have a requirement that guests 12 and over must have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.

Child Vaccination & Testing policies:

Carnival:  A limited number of unvaccinated children are permitted per sailing. Unvaccinated guests age 2 and older must present a negative PCR COVID-19 test at check-in, taken within 72 and 24 hours prior to the sailing date. Also, unvaccinated guests (age 2 and older) must take an antigen test at embarkation, and test again within 24 hours of debarkation on all cruises longer than 4 days. All unvaccinated guests (age 2 and older) will be assessed a US$150 per person charge on their onboard Sail & Sign account to cover the cost of testing, reporting, and health & safety screenings.

Celebrity: All unvaccinated children between the ages of 2 & 11 years old, will be required to bring a negative PCR test result conducted within three days of embarkation. An additional COVID-19 Antigen test will be administered in the terminal before boarding and on the day before disembarkation.

MSC: All guests aged 2 years and above are required to submit a negative test result prior to boarding.

Royal Caribbean:  Unvaccinated kids aged 2 to 11 must show a negative test result for a PCR test taken no more than 3 days before boarding day. Kids aged 5 to 11 who have been vaccinated may present proof of full vaccination and follow the testing protocols for vaccinated guests.

Disney:  Age 5+ must be vaccinated.  Under 5 years – Negative PCR test 72-24 hrs prior to sailing.

Princess: ALL guests ages 2 and above will be required to produce a negative viral COVID-19 test result (PCR or antigen) taken before embarkation. Children aged 2 to 4 (who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines) will require a medically observed negative viral PCR COVID-19 test within 3 days before boarding, plus an antigen test taken at the terminal (complimentary).

Holland America: Guests aged 5 years and older must be fully vaccinated. All guests aged 2 and older are required to take a pre-travel Covid-19 test. The type and timing of the test are dependent on the embarkation country and vaccination status.

Norwegian: All guests aged 12 and over must be fully vaccinated to sail regardless of age. All unvaccinated guests under the age of 12 are required to bring proof of a negative PCR test result administered by a verified third party within three days prior to the embarkation date.

Which Vaccines are being accepted?

  • Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (2 doses)
  • Johnson & Johnson (1 dose)
  • Any mixed combination of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca

Are there other Health Requirements before Sailing?

All cruise lines require that passengers fill out a health questionnaire before their cruise 48-72 hrs before cruising. Most lines have an app that can be downloaded to complete the questionnaire. Some will also allow it to be filled out at the pier.

Carnival: All guests must answer a single pre-cruise vaccine attestation question that can be done in the cruise manager. Carnival will also send it by email, if not filled out within 48 hours of email receipt, your booking will be cancelled. A health questionnaire is also required, completed online or at the pier prior to boarding.

What are the testing requirements to return back to Canada?

Fully vaccinated travellers do not need to submit a negative test for re-entry to Canada.

Will Masks be required onboard?

On most ships, masks will be required while moving around in public spaces like elevators, retail shops, entertainment spaces, and restaurants until seated.

Norwegian, Celebrity: Facemasks are not required anywhere onboard. (Celebrity: unvaccinated children under 12 must wear masks)

Royal Caribbean: In vaccinated-only designated spaces masks are not required.

What will the dining experience be like?

The dining experience will feel quite similar to what we have become accustomed to here in Canada. Across all lines, the regular dining options are running. Guests will be required to wear a mask while moving around the restaurant but will be able to remove it once they are seated at their table. In most cases, if the dining venue is buffet style the self serve options will be replaced by staff serving the guests. 

Carnival, Norwegian: Buffet has returned to self-serve.

What are some of the safety procedures being implemented onboard?

All cruise lines have developed enhanced health and safety protocols as they begin to welcome guests back to their ships. Some of these may include:

  • Hand sanitizer stations around the ship
  • Physical barriers, such as plexiglass
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures
  • Reduced capacity to facilitate physical distancing
  • Air filtration systems
  • Mandatory masks & vaccination for all crew members
  • Virtual muster drills

Will I be able to take shore excursions?

Shore excursions are available but are subject to the local entry requirements of each port. Vaccinated travellers have more options.  It is recommended (and required in some destinations) to book excursions directly through the cruise line. Some ports of call will only allow guests to participate in approved tours while some allow free movement around the destination. Destination entry requirements can change at any time. 

Required shore excursion booking through Cruise line: Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Panama, St. Kitts, and St. Lucia

On the water taxi back to the ship

What if I decide to cancel or I test positive for COVID-19?

Each individual line will have its own terms for cancellation which can change at any time. Some cruise lines are enforcing their regular cancellation policies for reasons not related to COVID-19, while others are more relaxed to build confidence. All lines are offering cancellation options in the case that a guest tests positive prior to their cruise which allows them a future cruise credit.  

Celebrity (effective February 25, 2022 and apply to all Celebrity cruises scheduled to sail between February 25, 2022 and April 30, 2022, inclusive): If you, or anyone in your Traveling Party, cancel a cruise booking due to testing positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of embarkation, you and they are entitled to a refund, or an optional FCC, for the cruise fare paid to Celebrity. If you had close contact with a positive or suspected COVID-19 case within 10 days of embarkation, and Celebrity deems you are unfit to travel, you, and anyone else in your Traveling Party who cancels, are eligible for a refund of the cruise fare paid to Celebrity, or an optional FCC equal in value to the same. To qualify for a refund or the FCC, if your COVID-19 test was administered by a provider other than one retained by Celebrity, you must present your verified positive test result in a form acceptable to Celebrity. If you report that you may have been exposed to or are likely to have been infected by COVID-19 within 10 days of embarkation, we may require that you and others in your Traveling Party do not travel to the port. Anyone effectively denied boarding in these circumstances will be entitled to a refund, or an optional FCC, for the cruise fare paid to Celebrity.

Royal Caribbean: 100% cruise fare refund for you, and your Travelling Party, if any of you test positive for COVID-19 within 10 days prior to the cruise or at the boarding terminal, for cruises departing on or before March 31, 2023. Pro-rated cruise fare refund if your cruise is cut short for reasons related to COVID-19, for cruises departing on or before April 30, 2022. If you test positive for COVID-19 during the cruise, Royal Caribbean will cover the costs of COVID-19 related medical treatment onboard, any required land-based quarantine, and travel home for you and your Traveling Party, for cruises departing on or before April 30, 2022.

Carnival: If you, your family members living with you in the same household, or travelling companions assigned to the same stateroom cancel a cruise booking due to testing positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of embarkation, you and they are entitled to an FCC for the amount paid to Carnival. If you have close contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case within 10 days of embarkation, and Carnival deems you are unfit to travel because of the confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case, you are eligible for an FCC (you are required to notify Carnival within 24 hours of receiving a positive COVID-19 test result).

Norwegian: If, following a declaration of a Public Health Emergency, you cancel a booking for a cruise scheduled during the declared emergency or must cancel your booking because you are prohibited from travelling to the vessel due to a governmental travel restriction, but the cruise is not cancelled, you are entitled to an FCC for the amount paid to Norwegian. In all other cases, NCL’s standard cancellation policy will apply, as set forth in the Cruise Ticket Contract for your cruise. If you, your family members, or travelling companions assigned to the same stateroom cancel a cruise booking due to testing positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of embarkation, you and they are entitled to an FCC for the amount paid to Norwegian. To qualify for the FCC, if your COVID-19 test was administered by a provider other than one retained by Norwegian, you must present your verified positive test result in a form acceptable to Norwegian.

Holland America & Princess: For bookings sailing on or before September 30, 2022, guests who, as a result of being suspected of having COVID-19 or testing positive for COVID-19, may be unable to travel to embarkation, may be denied boarding, may be quarantined onboard or disembarked early, the following will apply to the affected guests and their immediate travel party in the same stateroom.

  • Pre-Embarkation: Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for 100% of the cancellation fee amount of non-refundable unused services, and a refund to the original form of payment for all taxes, fees, port expenses, and pre-paid onboard experiences and shore excursions purchased through the cruise line. Applicable, for guests and their immediate travel party in the same stateroom if any guest tests positive for COVID-19 within 30 days prior to embarkation.
  • On Board: FCC worth 100% of the per-day cruise fare for the missed days and a refundable credit to their onboard account for missed pre-paid onboard experiences and shore excursions purchased through the cruise line, and for the refundable portion of taxes, fees, and port expenses for ports visited after disembarkation. Onboard COVID-related medical center visits and testing of suspected COVID-19 cases will be free of charge.

MSC: If you test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days prior to or during your cruise, you and your traveling party will receive a full or prorated refund and assistance if required, with onboard medical care and land-based quarantine.

Disney: Within 14 days of the sailing, booked Guests with COVID-19-related health concerns (symptoms or exposure) can receive a refund without Disney-imposed cancellation fees or apply their cruise fare toward a future sail date. Conditions apply.