Following a global suspension due to Covid, the cruise lines are getting back in the water! Norwegian Cruise Line is beginning to sail from Florida on Gem in August, 2021. One of the questions on everyone’s mind is are masks required? According to today’s health and safety protocols and policies, they aren’t because Norwegian is sailing 100% vaccinated. Also in this announcement are five other very important questions for anyone who is already booked on an NCL cruise or is thinking about sailing Norwegian in the near future.
Related: More Norwegian health and safety protocols
Q: What vaccines will be accepted to cruise on initial voyages?
A: For ships embarking or disembarking at US ports, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or World Health Organization (WHO) authorized single brand vaccination protocol will be accepted. Including, J&J Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sinopharm BIBP and Sinovac. These vaccines are listed as examples. Refer to FDA or WHO websites for full approved current list. Mixed vaccination protocol will not be accepted (i.e. Pfizer + Moderna or AstraZeneca + Pfizer, etc). All Other Vessels departing from a non US port will accept any U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA), or World Health Organization (WHO) authorized single brand vaccination protocol. Or a mixed vaccination protocol of only AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna combinations. Vaccines received via clinical trials will not be accepted as they do not specify vaccine received.
Q: Will NCL offer testing on board to meet travel requirements for guests flying back to countries that require negative COVID-19 test results to re-enter the country post cruise?
A: Yes, COVID-19 antigen or PCR tests prior to disembarkation will be administered on board and paid for by the Cruise Line for those guests who require a test to return home. If a PCR test is required for any travel home, the cruise line will administer and pay for a PCR test, only for those guests whose home country specifically requires a PCR test. The PCR test onboard for cruises from Europe will be administered by Eurorfins. The PCR test for US based sailings will be administered by Norwegian Cruise Line’s medical staff.
Q: Will buffets be offered onboard?
A: Yes, buffets will be offered and will operate as they have in the past. NCL will continue to adhere to strict sanitation protocols to protect the health and well-being of all guests. In Europe, local regulations will not allow self-service buffets therefore on vessels departing from European ports, buffets will be fully serviced.
Q: Will I be required to take a COVID test to disembark the vessel?
A: On US based vessels, Norwegian does not require a disembarkation test. For Europe based vessels, a disembarkation test is required and will be administered onboard and cost will be covered by Norwegian Cruise Line.
Q: Can I explore on my own while in port?
A: As delivering the best experience for guests is always a top priority, and after working closely with destination partners, NCL anticipates guests will be free to explore certain ports of call on their own. Please keep in mind that this is largely dependent on the local health authorities and the evolving regulations, which are subject to change. In order to keep guests as safe as possible, taking company organized shore excursions is highly recommended.
Q: Are masks required?
A: NCL cruises will operate with 100% vaccination of guests and crew through 10/31/21, therefore face coverings are not required for cruises prior to 10/31/21. On Europe sailings only, local government regulations requires all guests to wear masks onboard while indoors except for when actively eating or drinking or when in their stateroom. Guests will be required to wear masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible. Face masks that have two or more layers that completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly on your face are permitted. Face masks should block light when held up to bright light source. Masks with exhalation valves or vents; single layer or masks made of thin fabric that don’t block light (i.e. neck gaiters) are not permitted.
NCL will only cover onboard COVID-19 related medical expenses.
Norwegian Cruise Line will coordinate and cover the costs related to necessary onboard COVID-19 related medical treatment, required land-based quarantine and travel arrangements to get the guest safely back home. We will also cover the same costs for identified close contacts if they are required to quarantine onboard or are removed or denied re-boarding due to being in close contact to a guest who tests positive.
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