Let me first explain that while I am a Travel Advisor, and I get paid commission for helping you book your cruise (or hotel, or resort stay, or well…), I want you to have the information you need to decide what vacation will be best for you. I don’t want you to come back upset that your vacation was a real bummer. I want to help you find something you will enjoy.
So, with that in mind, I will be listing some of the new protocols cruises have. While these are for leaving the United States ports, many other countries have some similar requirements. Some are more strict, some are not. If you need to know about a particular country, let me know.
If you don’t like any of the requirements, and you feel you can’t live with them, then don’t book a cruise now. If you don’t have a problem with any of these, and you are ok with any possible changes to them, then booking a cruise would be great, because capacity is limited (fewer people) and some cruises are super great deals right now.
Testing: Currently, testing is required for everyone. If you have the COVID-19 “vaccine,” you will be required to show negative test results taken no greater than two days before your cruise leaves. This is at your expense. Home tests are accepted by some cruise lines for “vaccinated” individuals only if it is the proper home test (cruise lines differ). Some cruise lines do not take an antigen test, so be sure to check before you go.
Those of you who do not have the COVID-19 “vaccine,” will be required to have a negative PCR test taken no greater than three days before your cruise, but not the DAY of your cruise. This includes even children who do not qualify for the “vaccine.” These tests are at your own expense. Home tests are not accepted for this group.
Also, those who are not “vaccinated” will be required to have a test done at the port. If it is positive, you will be denied boarding. This test is for all who are not “vaccinated,” including children under 12. Most cruise lines will not charge for the test for those who are not eligible for the “vaccine” (children under 12), however those over the age of 12 will be responsible for the cost of these tests, and it will be added to your onboard account. Each cruise line has their own fees for this.
Those who are not “vaccinated” will also be required to have a test prior to disembarkation. You will be told when to report to have your test. This will also be your expense and billed to your onboard account, however, most cruise lines will not charge for children under 12, since they are not eligible for the “vaccine.”
Depending on the length of your cruise, you may also be required to be tested mid-cruise if you are not “vaccinated.” Again, this will be at your expense and billed to your onboard account. Again, children under 12 may not be charged, depending on the cruise line.
Some ports in other countries may require negative tests taken right before you get off the ship.
Masks: The wearing of face masks are required by everyone at the port. You are also required to wear one on the ship with some exceptions. You do not need to wear your face mask when inside your stateroom, when actively eating (some ships may allow you to remove it when seated in a restaurant), in the pool, and some outside locations. Some ships have “vaccinated” only areas where everyone must be “vaccinated” to enter. Once inside these areas, you may remove your face mask.
Know that some areas may be for “vaccinated” passengers only. This means if you are not “vaccinated,” you will not be allowed in, even if it is a show you want to see or a venue you want to try.
Each port may have their own mask policy, and if you are in that country, you must follow their requirements. These could change at any time.
Vaccination Status: This can be a bit tricky as countries change their requirements for ships. If a ship is going to a country that has specific requirements, the ship must follow those protocols. If a country requires everyone be “vaccinated” to be allowed into that port, you will not be allowed on the ship if you are not “vaccinated.” Some countries may allow the ship to dock in the port with “unvaccinated” individuals, but it is possible they may not be allowed off the ship with “vaccinated” individuals.
If anyone in your group is not “vaccinated,” including someone under 12, you will most likely not be allowed off the ship without an excursion booked with the cruise line. This is to ensure that all protocols are followed, and if you leave the excursion, you will not be allowed back on the ship.
Some cruise lines do not allow anyone who is not “vaccinated” on the ship, including anyone under the age of 12.
All cruise lines encourage you to be “vaccinated,” and for the most part are requiring that you are. There are few exceptions made.
Physical Distancing: Cruise lines, and even ships, vary on this issue, but know that it could be required.
If none of these bother you, then feel free to book a cruise for this year (2021). There are a number of great deals on some ships. The newer ships don’t have these great deals, but let us know what you want and we’ll check for you.
Just know that at any time these protocols could change, either more strict or less strict.
If any of these protocols bother you, then don’t book a cruise, yet.
My husband and I booked a cruise in April 2020 that was to leave in May 2020. We were ready to get on a ship. This was before face mask mandates, “vaccines,” and that we thought we still wouldn’t be able to cruise for over a year.
We had no fear of getting on a ship, and we still don’t. However, we don’t wear face masks, so why would we want to do that on a vacation? That wouldn’t be a vacation to us. That in itself would stop us from getting on a ship.
All these mandates from the CDC are given a due date, but then they are extended. I do expect them to be extended again, because it always is. So, if any of the above items would cause you to not want to cruise, don’t book a cruise, even for 2022, unless there is a refundable deposit (not all are). I know that statement will mean I will book a lot fewer cruises, but I’d rather you have a good time on your vacation.
If you have any questions, just let me know. If you want to be put on a list to be contacted when protocols change, let me know, I’ll be happy to notify you.
By the way, if you are thinking of a beach vacation at a resort, you will need to know their protocols, too, before you go. Some have very strict protocols, some don’t. Let us know and we’ll check on any you may be interested in.