Will I Need a COVID Booster to Cruise?

If you are planning to cruise in 2022, you may be wondering, "Will I need a COVID booster to cruise?". We outline the current requirements.

Will I Need a COVID Booster to Cruise?

If you are planning to cruise in 2022, keeping up with the constantly evolving travel requirements might seem a bit overwhelming. While testing and vaccine requirements are now commonplace in the cruise industry, many are beginning to wonder if a booster dose will be required to board a cruise ship this year. “Will I need a COVID booster to cruise”, you ask? Well, the short answer is maybe.

Will I Need a COVID Booster to Cruise?

Currently, the vast majority of cruise lines require guests to be vaccinated. While the specifics vary slightly by cruise line, guests need to be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to sailing. 

Now, some cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line are sailing with 100% vaccination. This means anyone 5 years or older can cruise with NCL if they have received their required doses. Other brands like Carnival Cruise Line are sailing at a 95% vaccination rate. Unvaccinated guests need to apply for an exemption, and the cruise line will grant a small number of them.

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Still, other cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line allow unvaccinated minors to sail. Disney Cruise Line was the first to announce that all guests 5 years and older will now need a vaccination in order to sail after January 13, 2022. Royal Caribbean remains at 12 years and older currently.

The need for vaccination to cruise remains in effect for the foreseeable future. Though, it remains in question whether two doses (Pfizer or Moderna) will be enough to be considered “fully vaccinated” going forward.

Some smaller cruise lines and European cruise lines have already updated their policies to add a booster dose. Additionally, more and more destinations which cruise ships visit are also updating their requirements to include booster doses.

So, will mainstream cruise lines follow suit?

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Cruise Lines Currently Requiring a Booster Shot

U.K. based brands Cunard and P&O Cruises were the first to announce the need for COVID boosters to cruise on specific voyages. According to Cruise Critic, these cruise lines sent letters to guests booked on these longer voyages informing them of the new requirement.

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On the German cruise line, TUI, all eligible passengers will need a COVID booster for sailings beginning February 23, 2022. The European cruise line Hapag-Lloyd Cruises made a similar announcement regarding boosters beginning in February.

The small adventure cruise line well-known for its Alaska voyages, UnCruise Adventures, will begin requiring COVID booster shots on February 5, 2022. According to The Points Guy, the river cruise line, Grand Circle Cruise Line, will add this requirement as of April 1st as well.

As of the writing of this post, all other major cruise lines only “recommend” passengers receive their booster doses before sailing. Brands like Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, or Holland America Line have fallen short of requiring a COVID booster to cruise thus far.

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Destinations Currently Requiring a COVID Booster Shot

However, even if your cruise line is not requiring a COVID booster shot, the destinations you visit on your cruise might.

For instance, Hawaii is changing its definition of “fully vaccinated” to include a booster dose. This booster dose will be necessary to skip the traveler quarantine.

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Some European nations too are beginning to add such requirements. Starting January 15th, travelers heading to France must show proof of a COVID booster to obtain a French Health Pass. This pass allows access into museums, restaurants, and more.

In addition, Austria and the Netherlands announced booster dose requirements. In time for peak ski season, Austria implemented this requirement in late December. The Netherlands then announced that only vaccine certificates with a booster dose will be accepted beginning in February. Further, these certificates will only be valid for nine months.

Croatia, Switzerland, and Greece have also previously indicated their intent to make the booster dose mandatory. Though, there are no concrete plans in place just yet.

Also, Spain is the latest country to add a COVID booster to its entry requirement. The country will require U.S. visitors to have a booster shot if their last date of COVID vaccination is more than 270 days prior to arrival. This rule goes into effect as of February 1st.

So, as you can see, the answer to this question is not as clear cut as you might think. If you are planning to cruise in 2022, it is important to stay up to date on your cruise line’s travel requirements. It is also important to monitor the travel requirements of the destinations you are visiting on your cruise. As the state of the COVID pandemic continues to evolve, so will these travel requirements.

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Do you think travelers will need a COVID booster to cruise? Would you feel safer if the cruise lines made this a requirement? Drop us an anchor below to share your reactions to this commonly asked question.

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 Bucolo
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5 comments on Will I Need a COVID Booster to Cruise?

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  1. I feel if you are fully vaccinated why wouldn’t you get the booster. They should be mandatory for every cruise passenger who is eligible. Children are getting sick with Covid at an alarming rate, they too need to be fully vaccinated AND boosted. Protect the other people. Cruising is way too close quarters for everyone and needs to be a totally safe environment. Come on cruise lines and step up and do the right thing.

    I think Covid boosters should be mandatory for all cruise passengers AND staff. Why would you risk your life, and that of others, by not having the best available protection against this virulent disease? This virus kills people. Vaccination including booster vaccination is the most important lifesaving tool we have. Please, cruise lines – help save lives.

    No, boosters should not be required. The first two are enough as it’s been proven that people with three and four boosters are still catching Covid, it’s more flu like now, so No. People should be responsible for themselves and their own comfort levels.