Do you have to be vaccinated to go on a cruise? The answer is quickly changing, but it depends.
The long answer is that vaccine requirements vary by cruise line, cruise ship, and departure port/destination. Currently, major cruise lines are re-evaluating their Covid protocols, including requiring passengers to be vaccinated. This is largely in part due to Covid becoming far less deadly, and society's desire to move past the lockdowns and restrictions.
Many U.S.-based cruise lines restarted cruises with mainly vaccinated guests, and the vaccination requirement remains in place for these lines. Some lines have even begun requiring children be vaccinated, such as Disney Cruise Line. Royal Caribbean, on the other hand, allows unvaccinated kids on their ships. However, lines that planned to welcome unvaccinated adults have had to get stricter about vaccine requirements to adhere to new government policies.
Here’s the current list of cruise lines that do not require Covid vaccines to sail, for travelers who cannot or choose not to get the shot.
UPDATED: October 3, 2022
Margaritaville at Sea
Margaritaville at Sea Paradise welcomes all guests onboard regardless of vaccination status.
Testing is not required of vaccinated guests. Guest must show proof of vaccination (original vaccination card or any copy, paper or electronic, is acceptable as proof. Guests that are unable to show proof of vaccination are considered unvaccinated and must follow Unvaccinated Guests’ requirements outlined below).
Unvaccinated Guests: Testing IS required! Guests 5yrs and older must provide negative (Antigen, PCR or NAAT) test results administered by a verified testing agency, taken no more than 3-days prior to the sailing date. Guests MUST bring their test result to the port in order to board because testing is not available at the terminal.
Guests under 5 years old have no Vaccination or Testing requirements.
Carnival simplified vaccination and testing guidelines, including no testing for vaccinated guests on sailings less than 16 nights, and eliminating the exemption request process for unvaccinated guests, who will only need to show a negative test result at embarkation.
Vaccinated guests must continue to provide evidence of their vaccination status prior to embarkation. Pre-cruise testing is no longer required, except for cruises to Canada, Bermuda, Greece and Australia (per local guidelines), and on voyages 16 nights or longer.
Guests under the age of five years are exempt from vaccination and testing requirements from the United States and under the age of 12 from Australia.
Unvaccinated guests are welcome to sail and are no longer required to apply for a vaccine exemption, except for cruises in Australia or on voyages 16 nights and longer.
Unvaccinated guests or those who do not provide proof of vaccination must present the results of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within three days of embarkation.
All policies are subject to local destination regulations.
Starting with September 5th departures:
- Regardless of vaccination status, everyone can now sail with us from the U.S. and Europe (exceptions include sailings that visit Canada).
- Celebrity Cruises will also now accept any commercially available test, including unsupervised self-tests, in many destinations (exceptions include sailings that visit Canada, Bermuda and Greece).
In the U.S.:
- Fully vaccinated guests no longer need to present a pre-cruise test to board sailings that are 9 nights or shorter (excluding sailings that visit Canada and Bermuda).
- On sailings 10 nights or longer, all guests must present a negative COVID-19 test result from any commercially available test, including unsupervised self-tests, within 3 days of boarding.
- Children under 5 years of age do not need to test prior to boarding.
- For Bermuda, unvaccinated guests are now able to sail.
- Unvaccinated guests can cruise on all sailings departing from Europe ports, as long as they meet testing requirements.
- All sailings will accept any commercially available test, including self-tests, with the exception of Greece – Greece will not accept self-tests.
- Testing requirements in Europe still distinguish between Up-to-Date, Fully Vaccinated and Unvaccinated status.
- Children under 12 years of age do not need to test prior to boarding.
Disney Cruise Line
Starting September 2, 2022, for voyages from United States and Canadian ports, Disney Cruise Line requires that all vaccine-eligible guests (ages 12 and older) be fully vaccinated in order to cruise, including children.
Unvaccinated children five to 11 years old will no longer need the vaccine to sail.
All Disney passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks indoors, but can remove them when outdoors.
Holland America Line
Sailings on September 6, 2022, vaccinated guests will no longer need to present a negative pre-cruise COVID-19 test in order to set sail. Cruises that visit Australia, Canada, and Greece must still have passengers test before setting sail.
Guests who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical, religious, or other personal reasons may once again cruise with Holland America Line on sailings shorter than 16 nights.
Unvaccinated guests, however, will still need to present a negative antigen or PCR test result before embarkation. Tests may be taken up to 72 hours before sailing.
Holland America Line is also still requiring pre-cruise tests for all passengers on sailings of 16 nights or longer, as well as on select itineraries with more unique routes, such as Panama Canal transits or transatlantic crossings.
All passengers 12 and older must be fully vaccinated in order to cruise with MSC Cruises at the time of embarkation.
Children under the age of 12 that are unvaccinated are allowed to sail with MSC, but are required to provide a negative RT-PCR test taken no more than 3 days prior to ship embarkation.
Unvaccinated kids will undergo an additional COVID-19 test at the terminal prior to embarkation provided by MSC Cruises, free of charge. The only exception is that no pre-embarkation or embarkation testing is required for guests under 2 years of age.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line is removing all Covid-19 testing, masking and vaccination requirements effective Oct. 4.
NCL is the first major cruise line to announce it will discontinue requirements for all guests.
NCL will continue to follow the travel requirements of the destinations it visits, such as Greece which still requires a negative Covid-19 test for vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers 12 and older, or a certificate of recovery.
Princess Cruises removed the vaccine requirement for most sailings of less than 16 days so that anyone can cruise.
Starting Sept. 6, no pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests on voyages of up to 15 nights (guests 5 and older) with the exception of full Panama Canal transits, trans-ocean and other special itineraries.
Unvaccinated guests must provide a negative self-test result taken within three days of embarkation (unvaccinated children under 5 years do not require pre-cruise testing).
Guests sailing on voyages 16 nights or longer, or sailing on full Panama Canal transits, trans-ocean and other specific itineraries, need to take a supervised test within three days of embarkation (guests 5 and older). Guests on these types of voyages will be contacted directly by an Ocean Navigator to assist.
The updated guidelines are subject to the local regulations of applicable homeports and destinations.
Starting Sept. 5, Royal Caribbean will welcome all guests – unvaccinated and vaccinated – to sail. The new guidelines are:
- Unvaccinated guests can cruise with negative results from any commercially available test, including self-tests.
- No testing is required for vaccinated guests sailing on cruises that are nine nights or less.
- For all sailings, guests 5 years old and younger have no vaccine or testing requirements.
- On sailings of 10-plus nights, guests – vaccinated or unvaccinated – must provide a negative test within three days of their sailing date.
Due to local regulations, sailings to or from Australia, Bermuda, Canada or Singapore still require guests to be vaccinated.
The cruise line continues to practice health and safety measures that exceed other types of vacations. These measures include the routine monitoring and vaccination of all crew members and keeping them up to date with boosters when they are eligible, enhanced testing and care capabilities in every onboard medical center, and more.
Unvaccinated guests aged 5 and older must present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 3 days of our sail date. Vaccinated guests, regardless of age, no longer need to test for sailing lengths of 9 nights or less.
Guests can now take advantage of at-home antigen tests (even unsupervised ones!) to satisfy this requirement. Proof of a negative test can be the printed or digital results, a clear photo of your self-test result, or your actual self-test in hand.
Will cruise lines drop their vaccine requirement?
While most cruise lines require adults to be vaccinated right now, unvaccinated readers want to know when the vaccine mandate may go away.
There is no definitive answer as to when a vaccine requirement to go on a cruise ship may go away, but at the very least it stands to reason not until the public health emergency ends. As long as Covid-19 remains a pandemic, it seems unlikely cruise lines will change protocols.
As the threat of Covid-19 begins to diminish, there is a possibility cruise lines may relax health protocols, including allowing unvaccinated people to go on a cruise ship.
For now, none of the cruise lines that have a vaccine requirement have announced any plans to rescind that rule in the future.