Norwegian becomes first cruise company to drop vaccination requirement – The Points Guy UK

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More travellers will soon be able to book a cruise when Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. becomes the first cruise company to drop vaccination requirements starting 3 Sept. 2022. It will also become easier for vaccinated travellers to sail with changes to the company’s pre-cruise testing policy.
When cruising resumed in 2021 after the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus, pandemic protocols required cruise lines to sail with the majority of passengers vaccinated, leaving few to no spaces for unvaccinated guests; these were mainly reserved for children too young to be vaccinated. Now for the first time since those protocols went into effect, unvaccinated cruisers can easily book a cruise.
There are some caveats — local regulations take precedence over the new cruise line protocols and unvaccinated passengers will need a negative COVID-19 test to sail — but this is big news for the cruise industry.
“Our long-awaited revisions to our testing and vaccination requirements bring us closer in line with the rest of society, which has learned to adapt and live with COVID-19,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “The relaxation of protocols coupled with continued easing of travel restrictions and the reopening to cruise in more ports around the globe are meaningfully positive for our business as it reduces friction, expands the addressable cruise market, brings variety to itineraries and provides additional catalysts on the road to recovery.”
The revised COVID-19 cruising protocols for the company’s three brands — Norwegian Cruise Line,  Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises — drop the mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated passengers ages 12 and older. Unvaccinated passengers ages 12 and older, or those who cannot or decline to provide proof of vaccination, will be welcomed on board with a negative antigen or PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
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These new guidelines mean that vaccinated passengers aged 12 and older will no longer have any pre-cruise COVID-19-related protocols. Travellers ages 11 and under will not be subject to vaccination requirements or testing protocols of any kind.
These changes should be welcome news for travellers eager to sail on the highly anticipated Norwegian Prima, NCL’s first new ship in nearly three years.
Note, however, that these protocol changes are still subject to local regulations. Vaccinated guests will be required to meet the definition of “fully vaccinated” based on the destination they are embarking from and travelling to on their cruise. Unvaccinated travellers will need to make sure the cruise ports they’re visiting do not have a vaccination requirement that is different from their cruise lines.
To date, none of the other major U.S.-based cruise lines has completely dropped their vaccination requirements.
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Featured image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.
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