Great news for people who have been hesitant to plan a cruise vacation to European ports due to the uncertainty of Covid testing requirements. Beginning August 1, 2022 some cruise lines are removing the pre cruise test requirement. But before you start doing cartwheels and celebrating the end of Covid related travel stress, you should know that if you're sailing from the US, Canada, Greece, or Bermuda, you'll still need to get a pre cruise test and have proof that it was negative.
Even with the asterisk, this is big news for people who have been putting off a cruise due to the stress about what kind of test is needed and how many days before cruising. This is a clear signal that we are taking steps toward a return to pre-pandemic policies and procedures.
Below is the statement from Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL):
Effective August 1, 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line will no longer require guests to complete pre-cruise COVID-19 testing unless required by local regulations. The pre-embarkation testing requirement will remain in place for guests currently traveling on voyages departing from destinations with local testing regulations, including but not limited to the U.S., Canada, Greece and Bermuda.
Regent Seven Seas and Oceania (all Norwegian brands) have also announced the end of the requirement to show proof of pre cruise testing and negative results beginning August 1. The announcements are simply the industry following the same standards as the rest of the travel and hospitality industries. It's important to know that while the pre cruise testing requirement is being lifted for some sailings,the vaccination policy remains the same: you must be fully vaccinated to cruise and a booster is recommended.
If your cruise starts in a homeport that doesn’t require pre cruise testing but one of the countries you're visiting requires a negative COVID-19 test to enter, you will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to arriving at that destination.
If traveling internationally, the countries you are flying to and/ or connecting through may have different testing and booster stipulations. Customers must adhere to all local regulations.
Cruises originating from US ports:
- Under 2 yrs no testing requirements
- For vaccinated guests 2-11 yrs old, a pre-cruise test or statement of recovery is required. Unvaccinated guests 2-11 yrs old are required to have a different test
- Guests 12 and above are required to be fully vaccinated and present a pre cruise negative test or certificate of recovery to sail.
Cruises originating from Canada:
- Guests under 5 have no pre cruise testing requirement
- Guests 5-11 yrs must provide proof of a negative Covid test. Vaccinated guests may present a certificate of recovery. (Test requirements and timing depend on vaccination status)
- Guests 12 and above are required to be fully vaccinated and present a negative Covid test or certificate of recovery.
Cruises originating from Piraeus, Greece:
- Guests under 12 have no pre cruise testing requirements
- Guests 12 and above must be vaccinated and present a negative Covid test or certificate of recovery.
Specific pre cruise testing requirements are available at the cruise line websites.
About the Author
Joel is a co-owner of JJ Travel Associates (a Dream Vacations franchise), blogger-in-chief at JoelKnowsTravel.com, lover of all things travel (especially UNESCO World Heritage Sites), wannabe comedian, and the person you should call if you're thinking of planning a vacation.