Norwegian Cruise Line will be the first major cruise line to forgo the vaccine requirement, as the company announced it will no longer require its passengers to be vaccinated in order to sail.
Starting September 3, Norwegian, along with Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which are both owned by Norwegian, will not require guests to be vaccinated. However, if passengers are unvaccinated they will need to take a COVID-test within 72 hours of boarding. Passengers who are vaccinated will not be required to test.
While the cruise line eliminated the vaccine requirement, some of its destinations may have safety and health protocols that are different than its new protocols. Guests will be notified if their destinations have different requirements.
This decision to allow everyone on its ships comes after the CDC announced that as of July 18, the COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships would no longer be in effect.
Following the announcement, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival updated their health and safety protocols, easing COVID testing requirements on their shorter cruises.
In terms of easing the vaccine requirement, other cruise lines may soon follow Norwegian Cruise Line’s lead. On Royal Caribbean’s website, the company posted about updating their policies, which indicated they might be allowing anyone to sail soon regardless of their vaccination status.
“We are currently developing updated protocols that provide for the continued safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit, better align with the travel and hospitality sector, and meet destination regulations. This means we’re transitioning to the point where everyone will be able to vacation with us,” the company wrote.