Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back

Major cruise lines have begun updating their health requirements recently, meaning that masks and testing for cruises are back!

Royal Caribbean Announces Restart Dates for Remaining Ships in Fleet

With the number of Delta variant COVID cases on the rise, many companies have begun putting extra precautions in place once again. Disney was first to re-institute its mask mandate. This past week, the cruise lines have begun to follow suit. In response to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and even on fully-vaccinated cruises, most of the major cruise lines have updated their health protocols and requirements. Unfortunately, this means that masks and testing for cruises are back!

Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back

Carnival Corp. Brands Update Mask and Testing Requirements

Carnival Cruise Line’s New Requirements

In a social media video, Carnival Cruise Line’s brand ambassador, John Heald, first announced these important updates. Travel agents and booked guests also received a letter on August 4th detailing the new requirements.

Mardi Gras Makes First Ever Call in San Juan - Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back

Carnival’s New Testing Requirements:

  • Effective with cruises departing on Saturday, August 14, 2021, we will require ALL fully vaccinated guests to produce a negative viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 3 days of their embarkation on all Carnival Cruise Line sailings. Guests who are unvaccinated will continue to follow the requirements already communicated (and as detailed below). 
  • Fully vaccinated guests will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test along with proof of full vaccination upon arrival in the terminal and can then proceed on board. Please note that testing in the terminal will not be available for vaccinated guests so it’s critical that you have your negative test results with you upon your arrival.  We will not be able to accommodate guests without proof of a negative test.  Please check our Have Fun. Be Safe.  protocols at Carnival.com for further details on testing requirements.    
  • Guests who are not fully vaccinated are still required to show the negative results of a PCR test taken between 72 and 24 hours prior to the sailing date, and will be tested again in the terminal prior to boarding the ship and again within 24 hours of debarkation (for itineraries five days or longer). Unvaccinated guests approved for an exemption will continue to be charged US$150, per person, for testing, reporting and health safety screenings, and also must provide proof of travel insurance if departing from the states of Florida or Texas. 
  • Children under two are exempt from testing requirements.

In addition to testing, guests will need to wear masks on cruises starting this Saturday, August 7, 2021.

Carnival Breeze Returns to Service
  • First, we strongly encourage all guests to wear face masks when indoors, particularly guests who are unvaccinated including children under the age of 12 who should wear masks in public areas, except when eating or drinking.
  • All guests age 2 and older will be required to wear face masks in elevators and in designated indoor entertainment areas, all retail shops, and in the casino, except when eating or drinking.
  • Guests will be required to wear face masks prior to being seated in our main dining rooms and in the Lido Buffet area and occasionally in other designated areas where larger number of guests may congregate.  
  • As a reminder, masks are required during embark and debark in the terminal, and masks should also be worn during the debarkation process on board.

Further, it is important to keep in mind that many ports of call also have their own requirements when it comes to face masks. For instance, we needed to wear them ashore in The Bahamas and Mexico even though we didn’t need to wear them on our ship.

Holland America Line and Princess Cruises Follow Suit

Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have followed suit implementing very similar requirements for its ships currently sailing.

For our upcoming Holland America Cruise departing on August 21st, we received a letter also on August 4th, informing us of these updates.

Holland America Line Announces Plans to Restart Cruising to Alaska in July - Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back
  • Effective with cruises departing on Saturday, August 14, 2021, we will require ALL fully vaccinated guests to produce a negative viral COVID-19 test (medically supervised PCR or antigen test) taken within 72 hours of their embarkation on all Holland America Line sailings.
  • Fully vaccinated guests will be required to provide proof of this negative COVID-19 test, along with proof of full vaccination at least 14 days prior to embarkation, upon arrival in the terminal and can then proceed on board.
  • Please note that testing in the terminal will not be available so it’s critical that you have your negative test results with you at cruise check-in. We will not be able to accommodate guests without proof of a negative test.
  • Please check our TravelWell® health protocols at HollandAmerica.com/TravelWell for further details on testing requirements.

The adjustment to mask policies are as follows:

  • We strongly encourage all guests to wear face masks when indoors.
  • All guests will be required to wear face masks in elevators and in designated indoor entertainment areas, all retail shops, and in the casino, except when eating or drinking.
  • Guests will be required to wear face masks prior to being seated in all dining areas. You may occasionally be asked to wear a mask in other designated areas where larger number of guests may congregate.
  • As a reminder, masks are required during embarkation and debarkation in the terminal, and masks must also be worn during the debarkation process on board.
  • We recommend guests wash or replace their mask daily and choose a good quality double-layer cloth or medical-grade mask. Please note that bandanas, neck gaiters and masks with exhaust valves will not be accepted as a substitute for a face mask and that visors and face shields are only permitted when used in addition to a mask.

Princess Cruises website also reflects new requirements for masks and testing on Majestic Princess and other cruises from the United States. The details are as follows:

Princess Cruises Successfully Complete First Cruise Back - Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back
  • We will also require ALL fully vaccinated guests to produce a negative, medically-observed viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 3 days of their embarkation on all Princess sailings.
  • Fully vaccinated guests will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test along with proof of full vaccination upon arrival in the terminal and can then proceed onboard. Please note that testing in the terminal will not be available for vaccinated guests, so it’s critical that you have your negative test results with you upon your arrival. We will not be able to accommodate guests without proof of a negative test.
  • Guests who received a vaccination exemption are still required to take a negative PCR test within 3 days prior to embarkation and will be tested again in the terminal prior to boarding the ship and again within 24 hours of debarkation (for itineraries five days or longer). Unvaccinated guests will continue to be charged $150 per person for testing and administration.
  • We strongly encourage guests wear face masks when in public spaces indoors. ALL guests will be required to wear a face mask – with no exceptions – in elevators and in designated indoor entertainment areas, all retail shops, and in the casino except when eating or drinking. Guests will also be required to wear face masks prior to being seated in our main dining rooms and in the buffet area, and occasionally in other designated areas where larger number of guests may congregate. As a reminder, masks are required during embark and debark in the terminal, and masks should also be worn during the debarkation process on board.

Royal Caribbean Group Updates Testing Requirements

Royal Caribbean Policies

All guests ages 12 and older must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination for most Royal Caribbean cruises this summer. The exception is cruises departing from Florida ports of call.

Given that Royal Caribbean caters to families, these sailing are not at the 95% threshold of vaccinated guests per CDC requirements. Thus, guests have needed masks on many of its ships sailing from the United States. In addition, there are venues for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated guests.

Odyssey of the Seas Arrives in Port Everglades - Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back

Masks are NOT required to be worn:

  • In open-air areas of the ship, unless you are in a crowded setting.
  • In the pool or any activity where they may become wet.
  • At venues designated for vaccinated guests only, such as select bars, lounges, restaurants and shows.
  • In your stateroom when you are with your traveling party.
  • While visiting our private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, unless you are in a crowded setting.
  • By any guest under the age of 2.

Masks ARE required to be worn:

  • While indoors onboard the ship, unless seated and actively eating or drinking.
  • While visiting public ports of call, where local regulations may require them.

For ship specific details, see here.

The mask policy now also applies to Adventure of Seas which departs from Nassau, Bahamas.

However, just announced last week was a new testing policy.

Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas resumes cruising - Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back
  • All guests age 2 and older — regardless of vaccination status — will need to take a COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) with an accredited test provider, such as a drugstore chain or diagnostic lab, no more than 3 days before arriving at the terminal for embarkation. Guests will need to show their negative test result upon arriving at the terminal. 

This policy was originally for cruises 5 days or longer and then adjusted to also include 3 and 4-night sailings starting August 12th.

Non-vaccinated guests will receive an additional test at the terminal, mid-cruise (in Florida), and prior to disembarkation. For guests 12 and older, the total charge from the third-party testing vendor for these tests is $136 USD per guest on sailings of less than 6 nights, and $178 USD per guest on sailings of 6 nights or more. The cruise line covers this cost for ineligible guests younger than 12 years old.

Guests 12 and older who do not provide proof of vaccination (Florida sailings) will need to present proof of travel insurance that meets coverage requirements as well.

If all this information is not overwhelming enough, Royal Caribbean has also issued an update for sailings with St. Thomas on the itinerary.

The Government of USVI is implementing a new requirement that all passengers ages 12 and older traveling onboard a cruise ship must have proof of vaccination in order for the ship to visit St. Thomas. To comply with this new requirement, Royal Caribbean is requiring guests to provide documentation of full vaccination at the terminal as a condition to boarding. This currently applies to sailings on Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

Celebrity Cruises Policy Updates

Celebrity Cruises is sailing with at least 95% of guests fully vaccinated. However, the cruise is also enhancing its COVID-19 testing requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. 

Celebrity Edge Cruise Review 2021
  • For US sailings departing as of August 6, 2021 through September 6, 2021, all guests over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status, will now be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result at the time of embarkation.  This test may be taken as either a PCR test or an Antigen test, conducted within 72 hours of embarkation. Each guest is responsible for making their own arrangements with an accredited testing provider as well as all associated costs. 
  • In Florida, guests 12 years and older who decline or are unable to show proof of vaccination at boarding will be treated as unvaccinated and subject to additional protocols, restrictions, and costs for COVID-19 testing.

Norwegian Cruise Line Policies

Norwegian Cruise Line will resume cruising from the United States tomorrow with Norwegian Encore departing from Seattle. Current protocols include mandatory vaccinations and pre-cruise testing.

Norwegian Cruise Line Will Feature Starbucks Across Entire Fleet - Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back
  • Guests embarking through October 31, 2021 must be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to embarkation. Proof of accepted vaccination against COVID-19 must be shown at the cruise pier to board the ship. 
  • All guests will be required to take a COVID-19 antigen test, administered and paid for by the cruise line, and receive a negative result. Guests will also undergo a health screening including an enhanced health questionnaire and touchless temperature check.

Currently, there has been no mention of whether masks will be required on these initial NCL cruises from the United States. We will be sure to update this post as we receive more information.

Comments

What do you think of the news that masks and testing for cruises are back? Will you still cruise with these newly enhanced measures in place? Drop us an anchor below to share your upcoming cruise plans.

Heidi is a physical therapist by profession, cruise enthusiast at heart, and Princess all the time! She is a self-confessed thrill seeker, obsessive planner, and over-packer. She is always looking for the latest and greatest adventures onboard and ashore, enjoys researching top things to do in ports of call, and loves dressing up for formal nights.
Heidi
Previous Post «
Next Post »
Cruiseline module – Remove Title

5 comments on Masks and Testing For Cruises Are Back

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. There have to be 10,000+ guest boarding ships every weekend in Seattle. Why on earth are the cruise lines not going together to have one of the drug store chains set up a rapid test facility at Pier 91. I would happily $25 to not worry about where or how I’m going to get my test (we will arrive in Seattle 3 days before our sailing).

      That is a great idea. We will be sailing from Seattle this week.

    I have read and understand the requirements before boarding re: testing and vaccinations, HOWEVER, I have been trying to find out if passengers are tested on board, before disembarkation, and if they test positive, where and how do they quarantine? I am fully vaxxed, but also fully aware if tested prior to the end of the cruise, I have a small chance of testing positive (after testing negative prior to boarding), even though I may be asymptomatic or lightly symptomatic. If that happens, what is the exact quarantine procedure in that situation? Does NCL put you up at a hotel to quarantine at the port city? Do they send you home to quarantine? Do they record it then send you on your merry way with no quarantine? Clarification on this would be great.

    No way will we cruise with a masking requirement. In fact we are about to cancel a late November cruise from Athens to Rome because of this requirement while in Europe.. We travel to relax and as long as any muzzle requirements are in place we will wait. Being fully vaccinated is fine but the rest of the hoops we will be required to jump through to cruise are just not worth the stress and aggravation. So disappointed!

    I’m okay with the vaccine and COVID test requirements, but will not, under any circumstances, wear a mask anywhere on the ship. These are expensive vacations and would rather cancel until I could fully enjoy a cruise as it should be.

Pin This: