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U.S. Cruise Restart: Which Cruise Lines Require COVID-19 Vaccination?

Carnival Vista in Galveston

Several cruise lines are on their way back to U.S. homeports this summer. Cruise Industry News has studied some of the major players' COVID-19 vaccine policies and restart plans.

Royal Caribbean International 
Ships: Freedom of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Independence of the Seas
First Cruise: July 2, 2021
Homeports: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, Seattle, Bayonne and Galveston    
Region: Caribbean, Bahamas and Alaska
Vaccination required? 
Rules vary by ship

Restarting service in the United States with several ships, Royal Caribbean International has different rules regarding vaccination against COVID-19.

For Freedom, Odyssey, Allure, Symphony and Mariner sailing out of Florida ports in July and August, vaccines are “strongly recommended” for all eligible guests. Approximately 90 percent of the passengers are expected to be vaccinated, but those choosing not to be vaccinated or not willing to verify vaccination will be subject to testing and additional health protocols at their expense. 

For the Serenade and Ovation from Seattle, the Independence from Galveston and the Oasis from Bayonne, guests will need to be fully vaccinated with the exemption only for children under 12. Children under 12 will need to be tested and subject to health protocols, with no additional charges for any testing.

Carnival Cruise Line
Ships: Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Horizon and Carnival Miracle
First Cruise: July 3, 2021
Homeports: Galveston, Miami and Seattle 
Region: Caribbean, Bahamas and Alaska
Vaccination required? 
Yes - for 95% of the guests in July

Carnival Cruise Line confirmed its plans to restart service in July, initially with four ships sailing in the Caribbean and Alaska.

Carnival said 95 percent of guests will need to have had their final approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to sailing and will be required to present proof of vaccination at the time of check-in. 

The company noted, however, that it will be able to accommodate a "small number" of unvaccinated guests (children under 12) and allow a small number of exemptions.

Recently, Carnival confirmed additional plans to reactivate more vessels in August. Vaccination requirements, however, are still to be announced.

Norwegian Cruise Line   
Ships: Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Breakaway     
First Cruise: August 7, 2021
Homeports: Seattle, Miami and New York       
Region: Alaska, Caribbean and Bermuda
Vaccination required? 
Yes, initially  

Norwegian Cruise Line will deploy three ships in the United States until September. With the new Norwegian Encore sailing to Alaska, the company is also planning to offer cruises to the Caribbean with the Norwegian Gem and to Bermuda with the Norwegian Breakaway.

All initial voyages will operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew.

Celebrity Cruises  
Ships: Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Equinox  
First Cruise: June 26, 2021
Homeports: Fort Lauderdale and Seattle    
Region: Alaska and Caribbean
Vaccination required? 
Yes – guests over 16

With three ships entering service in the United States by late July, Celebrity will require passengers to be inoculated.

According to the company’s website, all guests 16 years and older must be fully vaccinated with all COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing.  As of August 1, 2021, all guests aged 12 and older will need to be fully vaccinated.

MSC Cruises
Ships: MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina
First Cruise: August 2, 2021
Homeports: Miami and Port Canaveral
Region: Caribbean and Bahamas
Vaccination required? 
No

MSC Cruises has confirmed its restart plans for two ships cruising from U.S. ports beginning this August. The MSC Meraviglia will kick off the restart on Aug. 2, followed by the MSC Divina on Sept. 18. Both ships will offer cruises from Florida to the Caribbean and Bahamas.

According to MSC, the new itineraries will welcome both vaccinated and non-vaccinated guests. Those who are not vaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be subject to requirements such as additional testing, as well as restrictions, which are still to be announced.

Princess Cruises
Ships: Majestic Princess
First Cruise: July 25, 2021
Homeports: Seattle
Region: Alaska
Vaccination required? 
Yes

Princess Cruises is resuming its U.S. operations in Alaska with the Majestic Princess. The vessel will welcome passengers back on July 25, ahead of a series of ten sailings from Seattle.

The cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination.

Holland America Line
Ships:
 Nieuw Amsterdam
First Cruise: July 24, 2021
Homeports: Seattle
Region: Alaska
Vaccination required? 
Yes

Welcoming the passengers back in Alaska, Holland America Line will return to service on July 24. On that day, the Nieuw Amsterdam will sail from Seattle for the first of 10 Saturday departures that will operate through Oct. 2.

Guests will be required to have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to embarkation and have proof of vaccination.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Ships: Grand Classica
First Cruise: July 2, 2021
Homeports: Palm Beach
Region: Bahamas
Vaccination required? 
No

Bahamas Paradise will be one of the first cruise lines to resume service in the United States. After receiving a green light from the CDC to conduct a simulated sailing in June, the company plans to welcome the guests back next month. On July 2, the Grand Classica will restart its regular program of short cruises between Palm Beach and Freeport.

According to Bahamas Paradise website, guests will not need to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding, while the crew will be fully vaccinated.

Silversea Cruises
Ships: Silver Muse 
First Cruise: July 29, 2021
Homeports: Seattle
Region: Alaska
Vaccination required? 
Yes

The Silver Muse will resume round-trip sailings from Seattle starting on July 29, making Silversea the first luxury cruise line to operate in Alaska this summer.

According to the company, one of the measures to guarantee the health and safety of the operation, is making sure that all guests and crew are vaccinated against COVID-19.  

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