Cruise lines have been making changes to their requirements for passengers in order to make cruise ships accessible to virtually everyone. In late July, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) withdrew its COVID-19 Program for cruise ships, allowing individual cruise lines to set their own standards. On August 8, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, announced that it would also ease vaccination requirements. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises were the first to eliminate pre-cruise testing requirements for guests vaccinated on cruise ships of six nights or less.
These companies also suggested that requirements would be further relaxed once they obtained the necessary approvals from country governments. The CDC stated that after working closely with the cruise industry for two years, they believed that cruise lines had access to the “necessary tools” to “prevent and mitigate COVID-19 on board.” The vaccination requirements for passengers 12 years of age or older (some companies, such as Disney Cruise Line, later adopted a requirement of 5 years or more as vaccines became available to younger children), pre-cruise testing requirements, mandatory masking in public areas, and social distancing are all measures that the CDC said would help contain the spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships. If you have a cruise booked, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations from the cruise line's website or contact the line directly. Cruise lines are constantly changing their requirements in order to keep passengers safe and healthy while still allowing them to enjoy their vacation.