Family cruises will be a bit easier in Europe now as Celebrity Cruises has become the first line to drop the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for guests under the age of 18.
Guests of any age who are unvaccinated may also now either arrange a pre-cruise test within one day of sailing and bring their negative results to embarkation, or may be tested directly at the terminal.
Vaccine Requirement Dropped for Children and Teens
Changes made to Celebrity Cruises’ “Healthy at Sea” guidelines show that, as of June 8, 2022, only guests ages 18 and older must be vaccinated for European cruises.
This is sure to be a welcome change for families who may have been nervous about vaccinating younger travelers, or if teens and children are medically unable to be vaccinated.
This change applies to all current Celebrity Cruises European homeport departures: Southampton, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Ravenna, and Civitavecchia (Rome).
At the moment, cruises initially scheduled to depart from Venice are instead departing from Ravenna, 145 kilometers (90 miles) south; this has no affect on the vaccination requirements.
Celebrity Cruises is operating “vaccinated sailings” with onboard vaccination rates close to 100% among passengers. Guests ages 18 and up must be fully vaccinated – having completed an accepted primary vaccine series no less than 14 days prior to embarkation.
Booster shots are not required to sail with Celebrity Cruises, but are highly recommended.
All Celebrity Cruises’ crew members are fully vaccinated.
Guests booked on upcoming sailings should stay in close contact with Celebrity Cruises for updated information and changes. The cruise line will adapt its policies to coincide with the requirements of its homeports and destinations, which are always subject to change.
All guests – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – must still present negative antigen test results prior to embarkation. Guests who are fully vaccinated, including those who have booster shots, may take the test up to two days prior to sailing.
Unvaccinated guests, including teens and children, must test within one day of sailing.
Approved at-home, self-test kits may be used, or guests may arrange testing according to their medical provider or community testing locations. Testing is available at the cruise terminals for guests’ convenience, but guests should confirm arrangements with the cruise line or their travel partner prior to arrival.
Mid-cruise testing, as well as testing prior to debarkation, varies based on ports of call, overall itinerary, and debarkation port. Guests may be responsible for the costs of onboard testing.
Celebrity Cruises is offering a wide variety of amazing European itineraries this summer, including sailings that visit Turkey, Croatia, the Greek Isles, Italy, Spain, France, the Norwegian fjords, Scandinavia, Ireland, Iceland, and much more.
More Requirements Loosening
This change follows several other easing COVID-19 travel requirements in recent days.
On June 12, the United States ended its requirement for travelers to present negative COVID-19 test results before entering the country via air travel. This loosened restriction makes it much easier for international travelers to reach U.S. homeports, including PortMiami, Port Canaveral, and Port Everglades – the top three busiest passenger cruise ports in the world.
The next day, Viking announced the end of its fleetwide pre-cruise testing requirement, provided destination ports do not require a test. While not a universal ending of the requirement, this is one more step to ease restrictions on travelers and make cruising easier.
Hopefully this trend will continue and further restrictions will be eased as appropriate. All cruise lines continually evaluate conditions onboard their vessels and in both homeports and port destinations to keep their guests, crew members, and port communities safe.
Travelers should remain cautious, however, and keep in mind that health and safety protocols, including vaccination and testing requirements, can change on short notice.
For example, Holland America Line has reinstituted mandatory face masks onboard a number of its Alaska sailings, due to regional increases in positive test results.
Undoubtedly, there will be some back and forth with requirements and protocols as the situation continues to evolve and the cruise industry adapts to post-pandemic conditions.