Safer Sailing: These Cruise Lines Require ALL Passengers Have the Shot

Are you looking for a cruise line that requires all passengers and crew on the ship to be vaccinated? While every cruise line requires most passengers to have the shot, many do allow some exceptions — notably for children.

Vaccine being administered via shot

That means if you sail on certain lines, then some of your fellow passengers could be on the ship without the vaccination. (Even so, they will require multiple tests to board).

But with a health crisis that still shows no end in sight, the virus continues to spread. Currently the United States is seeing more than 90,000 cases per day on average as the Delta variant has become the most widespread version of the virus. And now headlines about a new variant have seemingly taken the world by storm overnight.

This leaves some cruise passengers worried about COVID in limbo. Thus far in the crisis — including during the height of Delta cases in late summer — cruises have seen cases, but they’ve seemingly been contained.

The CDC said that between June 26 (when the first cruise ship returned with passengers) to October 21, there were 1,359 cases reported to the agency aboard the dozens of cruise ships it tracks. That comes out to about 12 cases per day across all ships and thousands of crew and passengers at sea at any given time.

In other words, yes, cases can be found on ships. Right now, however, the testing and vaccination policies seem to be keeping a handle on overall cases.

Even so, for many people there is no sense in taking on more risk than what’s needed. That’s where cruise lines that require 100% vaccination rates — meaning everyone on the ship including all passengers and crew — can make sense. If you’re going to cruise, it’s the safest way to do so.

The following lines require all passengers to have the shot as a condition of sailing at this time…

Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL sign

Perhaps no cruise line has been at the forefront of pushing for vaccines than Norwegian. In fact, they even went to court to be able to require proof of vaccination when sailing from Florida.

Today, the cruise line requires all passengers — no matter the age — to have the shot in order to sail. According to Norwegian’s “Sail Safe” page:

“All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least 2 weeks prior to departure, in order to board. Guest vaccination requirements are currently for all sailings.”

In addition, NCL has universal testing through January 16, 2022 at the pier. Right now all guests must take a COVID test — paid for by the cruise line — at the terminal before boarding. Note that after that date, passengers will need to provide proof from their own testing taken within two days of testing.

Princess Cruises

Princess cruise ship logo

Princess is another cruise line that is opting to have everyone on the ship vaccinated to sail. In this case, the cruise line has the following policies listed on its website for passengers through March 31, 2022:

  • Received their final dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the beginning of the cruise
  • Have proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 2 days of their embarkation
  • Be required to wear a face mask in certain areas

In addition, the vaccination requirements covered on the cruise line’s FAQ says that “proof of COVID-19 vaccination and the dates given will be required and will need to be shown at the terminal prior to boarding. Failure to provide this evidence will result in denial of boarding.”

There is even mention that as vaccines roll out for kids, that the cruise line looks forward to “welcoming vaccinated guests of all ages.”

Note: We did notice one reference in the FAQ that mentions guest and crew vaccination rates “approaching 100%.” That seems to be slightly modified compared to saying proof of vaccine is required.

Holland America

Like its sister line Princess (both are owned by Carnival Corporation), Holland America also requires a vaccine to sail on its ships.

According to the cruise line website:

“Our cruises through March 31, 2022, are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and have proof of vaccination. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and the dates given will be required and will need to be shown at the terminal prior to boarding. Failure to provide this evidence will result in denial of boarding.”

In fact, in FAQs posted by Holland America, the cruise line reiterates the requirement for questions asking “What if I am exempt from receiving the vaccination?” and “Can children sail, if not vaccinated?”

For the latter question, it says that “regardless of age, all guests on voyages departing through March 31, 2022 must be fully vaccinated in order to sail.”

In addition, all guests must have a negative test taken within two days of embarking on the ship.

Oceania Cruises & Regent Seven Seas

As two sister cruise lines to Norwegian, it shouldn’t be surprising that both Oceania and Regent Seven Seas adhere to the same policies.

Specifically, both state that all guests must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before embarkation. Passengers must also bring proof of vaccination with them to the port on cruise day.

Oceania clearly states that “guests who are not old enough to be vaccinated or otherwise not eligible to be vaccinated will not be permitted to sail.”

And like Norwegian Cruise Line, for trips before January 17, 2022 both Regent and Oceania require testing prior to boarding that is handled by the cruise line.

After that date, passengers will be required to have a test taken within 48 hours of arriving at the terminal before they are allowed to get on the ship.

Virgin Voyages

A newcomer to cruising, Virgin Voyages hasn’t known a time sailing when the pandemic wasn’t with us. So instead of having to rearrange the experience from what it “used to be,” the cruise line has simply started with health and safety protocols as part of its normal sailing.

As an adults-only cruise line, Virgin doesn’t have to worry about how to handle vaccines and kids. Instead, the cruise line sails 100% vaccinated voyages, with all passengers and crew having the shot.

In addition, there is COVID-19 testing at the terminal for free before boarding.

Vaccine Policies Can Change for Cruises

One thing to keep in mind is that these vaccine policies for cruise lines can change. Depending on the path of the pandemic, we could foresee more cruise lines requiring 100% vaccinations to keep passengers safe should there be a sharp rise in cases.

Likewise, should the crisis ever subside, then vaccination rules could relax. For the time being, however, it’s obvious that we’ll continue to have to live with the virus, making cruise lines requiring vaccinations for everyone on the ship an attractive choice for many people.

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