The cruise industry is starting to return to “normal” or at least approaching the pre-pandemic experiences. More cruise lines have recently removed the COVID-19 pre-testing requirement and expect to get more permission from government authorities to apply the measure worldwide.
Viking Cruises became the first cruise line to lift the pre-testing requirement a few weeks ago. This company based in Switzerland started the trend, and now P&O Cruises, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise Line also announced the end of this measure.
Holland America published a statement: “As health protocols around the world continue to evolve, we are adjusting our policies to align with those of the countries we visit.” Guests sailing on July 10, 17, and 24 on the 2021-built vessel will not be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken prior to boarding as it used to be.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd shared a press release on July 6 to announce the removal of the pre-testing measure: “The relaxation of the testing policy is in line with the rest of the travel, leisure and hospitality industry worldwide as society continues to adapt and return to a state of normalcy.”
However, the United States still requires travelers to take a COVID-19 test prior to departure and cruise companies have decided to comply and will request guests to respect this measure. Also, other countries like Canada, Greece, and Bermuda require pre-tests and customers must comply with the norms.
These cruise companies have also reiterated that vaccinations are still mandatory. Holland America stated: “The Company continues to strongly recommend all guests be up to date on vaccination protocols and test at their convenience prior to travel.”
While COVID-19 measures keep changing, others still remain, some cruise lines still require passengers to wear masks under certain circumstances. Travelers must stay up to date with the new rules —which change depending on the cruise line and the destination— before embarking.
More About The Removal Of The COVID-19 Pre-Test
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has informed customers that travelers will no longer need to take COVID-19 tests prior to departure starting on August 1, unless they depart from the United States or other ports where it is still mandatory.
The company has assured that all routes and vessels operate “under its robust science-backed SailSAFE health and safety program” and follow all local protocols at each port. They also encouraged travelers to stay up to date with vaccination protocols and take a COVID-19 test “at their convenience”.
The measures apply to all the company brands which include Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and the Norwegian Cruise Line. This major cruise line will certainly set an example for other companies.
Holland America, another major cruise line subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, has confirmed that vaccination requirements are still in place for all passengers over 12 years old and boosters for all travelers over 18 years old.
The removal of the pre-departure testing is more specific: for the Rotterdam vessel with European routes. The Rotterdam will soon travel from Amsterdam to destinations in Norway.
The cruise line—headquartered in Seattle— has also assured its commitment to maintaining safety and health measures in the statement: “Here at Holland America Line, the health and well-being of our guests, team members, and the communities we visit are our highest priority. Our protocols are designed to ensure a relaxing and memorable vacation experience while maximizing the health and safety of our guests and crew.”
P&O Cruises has dropped the pre-testing requirement for its five Iona vessels—5,200-guest cruises— departing this summer. The company considered it safe since these vessels cover short-term routes in the Norwegian fjords.
All companies have insisted that vaccinations are still required and recommended travelers take the COVID-19 test as a preventive measure. Most of the routes approved for the removal of the pre-testing measure are in Europe.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories