Norwegian Cruise Line to remove COVID vaccination requirement starting in September

If you’ve been missing cruises like I have, this news comes as such a relief! Today, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that starting with September 3rd sailings, they will allow unvaccinated adults to sail with proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within the last 72 hours. They are the first cruise line to make the change to allow adults to sail regardless of vaccination status. Up until to this point, cruise lines have only allowed very limited exemptions for unvaccinated adults and have allowed unvaccinated children under age 12 to cruise with proof of a negative test.

You probably remember the horror stories from early on in the pandemic about those who were stuck on cruise ships in quarantine for weeks with uncomfortable conditions. As travel requirements have started to relax around the world, this update will come as welcome news for travelers who could not be vaccinated or chose not to be for various reasons AND for the cruise industry as a whole. They have suffered a huge loss of business during the past few years and are no doubt eager to have all of this behind them and have bookings from everyone instead of just a portion of the population. I know many people that have been waiting for this rule change in order to book a cruise.

As far as mask requirements, each cruise line has its own policy, but Norwegian allows masks to be optional, except in Italian ports. See travel requirements by country here. Some other cruise lines currently require unvaccinated guests to wear a separate wristband, mask and sit in separate areas from the vaccinated guests, but I’m guessing these rules will also soon be relaxed based on travel safety trends.

Do you think other cruise lines will soon follow suit now that NCL has set this precedent? Does this news make you more or less likely to book a cruise with Norwegian? Let me know in the comments! Check out my reaction to the news here.

Related: 11 Essential Tips for your first Cruise

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