It seems that just when you think you know the rules, everything changes again.

If you are like me, you want to get on a cruise ship. I prefer to not cruise in the summer, so I’m not planning to cruise anytime real soon. However, I sometimes wonder when I should consider booking my next cruise, and on which cruise line.

Right now, the CDC has a number of strict rules. This means that some ships will require everyone to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to get on board. Some won’t even make exceptions for children under 12. Most of these ships will not require a face mask on board.

Those ships that allow those who are not vaccinated have additional hoops to jump through. Also, there will be additional protocols for everyone.

It was a surprise to many when they found out that on their cruise, those who are not vaccinated will be required to have three tests: one within 72 hours of boarding (typically before you leave home), one before being allowed to board (paid for by the passenger), and one within 24 hours of disembarkation (also paid for by the passenger). These tests are estimated to be over $130 and will be put on your ship board account.

It was also surprising when on that same ship, everyone (vaccinated or not) will be required to wear a face mask in all inside areas, including the restaurant where you are allowed to remove your mask only when actively eating or drinking. That means the mask is going on and off throughout the meal. There will also be areas designated for vaccinated only passengers where face masks will not be required. A wrist band will be given to those who are vaccinated and your card key will be marked if you are not vaccinated.

If you are not vaccinated on this particular ship, you will not be allowed to wander the ports of call on your own. You will only be able to book an excursion from the cruise line, and not be allowed to leave the group.

Next, throw into the mix the lawsuit against the CDC and what may happen with that and everything could change.

I know this makes many things about deciding to book a cruise a bit confusing. If you book today, what will be the rules when you cruise? We don’t know, the cruise lines don’t know.

If you want to be on a cruise for those who are vaccinated only, by the time your cruise sets sail, that could change to allow anyone on board.

If you don’t want to wear a face mask on the ship, that could change.

I don’t want to discourage you from getting on a ship if you want to do so, but I do want you to understand that what you thought were the rules may change by the time you cruise. So, if you are comfortable with any possible changes, go ahead. However, if you are not comfortable with certain changes, then wait until we know more about the future of the cruising protocols.