Holland America Line becomes the first US-based cruise line to remove testing for select cruises. Unfortunately for those taking a cruise from the United States, the new protocols are only in place for certain cruises onboard the company’s latest ship, the Rotterdam, in Europe.
Nonetheless, the move from the Seattle-based cruise line can be called surprising. The CDC has so far given no inclination it would be removing the test requirements for US cruises.
Holland America Line Removes Test Requirements For At Least Three Cruises
Guests booked on three cruises sailing on July 10, July 17, and July 24 have been informed that they no longer need to comply with the testing requirements. The pre-cruise testing measures have been in place since the cruise industry started operations again and have been an eyesore for many guests.
The development is a further sign that the cruise industry is slowly working towards returning to the old normal. In a letter sent to guests, the cruise line says the following:
“We are reaching out to advise you of a change to our COVID-19 testing requirement that affects your sailing. As health protocols around the world continue to evolve, we are adjusting our policies to align with those of the countries we visit.
“As a result, you are no longer required to undergo pre-cruise COVID-19 testing or produce a negative test result at embarkation for this cruise.”
Although Holland America Line is removing the testing requirements for these voyages, the vaccine mandate remains. All passengers 12 years and older are required to be fully vaccinated.
Guests 18 and older will need to have a booster shot if their initial vaccination cycle’s final dose is over 270 days from the last day of the cruise.
Cruising From The Netherlands
The three cruises for which the testing requirements have been removed depart from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The country removed all entry requirements regarding testing a few weeks ago, a strategy now finding its way to the cruise ships visiting the country.
While the new policy has only been announced for the three cruises mentioned, there is a significant chance that this will be extended further. Rotterdam will be sailing identical itineraries during August and even September.
On July 10, Rotterdam will depart from Amsterdam and sail to the Norwegian Fjords. During the seven-day cruise, the ship will visit Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, and Flam, Norway. Guests can extend the voyage to a 14-day cruise, adding Bergen, Geiranger, Alesund, and Eidfjord, Norway, after a stop in Amsterdam on July 17.
On July 24, Rotterdam will set sail on a 14-day or 21-day cruise that will be visiting Norway, the UK, and Iceland.
Second Cruise Line In Carnival Corporation To Remove Testing
Holland America Line is the second cruise line in Carnival Corporation to remove testing requirements for voyages sailing in Europe and the UK. Last week, P&O Cruises announced the same, in this case for cruises onboard its newest cruise ship, Iona.
The question, for now, is how the CDC will view Holland America Line sailing without a testing requirement in Europe. The agency has been quite vocal in saying it is re-evaluating but not considering removing the testing requirements for cruises sailing from the United States for the time being.
If anything, the voyages will provide Carnival Corporation with enough data to potentially push for the complete removal of testing mandates in the US.
It would bring a significant step forward in returning the cruise industry to normal, ensuring guests can board a ship without worrying about where and how they should get tested.