How Global Flight Restrictions Could Impact Cruises

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While we wait for the cruise industry to resume cruising, we look at the potential impact flight restrictions could have on cruises worldwide. While the vaccinations continue to be rolled out worldwide, a harsh reality is becoming clear.

More and more countries are leaning towards severe flight restrictions, quarantine periods for incoming travelers, and unrestricted travel only when vaccinated.

Flight Restrictions Increasing Each Day

The question right now is if countries worldwide will be rolling out flight restrictions for extended periods. In Hong Kong, as an example, all travelers from the UK, United States, Canada, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa, amongst others, will need to quarantine for 21 days in a government-approved hotel.

Other countries are eyeing the same strict procedures that Hong Kong has implemented. Canada has recently tightened its policies for incoming travelers, suspending all flights from Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. Anyone from Schengen countries and the UK and Ireland are banned from entering the United States.

Luckily, little of this affects the cruise industry right now. First of all, not many ships are sailing worldwide, except some vessels in the Canary Islands, Mediterranean, and Singapore, and second, ships that will homeport, or call, in the US are still not cleared to sail by the CDC. International cruises will suffer if these measures stay in place in one form or another once ships start sailing again.

Cruise Flight
Photo By: Remon Rijper (Creative Commons)

Continuing Quarantine Requirements And Flight Restrictions

The Philippines has been criticized widely for its tough stance on COVID-19. Not only did the Philippines undergo the longest community quarantine period in the world, but the local government has also already announced the quarantine rules, and flight restrictions will not be lifted this year. Many countries are seeing now that the harsh measures taken have curbed cases in the country significantly.

The local government in British Columbia, Canada, has said already that restrictions will not be lifted before a significant inroad is made with vaccine distribution. The examples worldwide are increasing each day, as countries tighten up their rules and regulations.

The results could be devastating to the cruise industry. As Cruise Hive covered in our article about Alaska this week, it could mean no foreign-flagged ships sailing between US ports. The issue being those foreign-flagged vessels must call in a foreign country on a single trip.

Cruise Passenger

That’s Just The Flights

The Cayman Islands have already said they do not expect any cruise travel for 2021, Key West has tried to ban large ships, and so-called Seacations are not an option from the US.

It leaves a lot of unknowns for the cruise industry between the uncertainty of ports of call, flight, and travel restrictions. The differences between countries mean there is a maze of rules, protocols, and regulations the cruise line will have to navigate, even if they get the go-ahead from the CDC.

Also Read: How the CDC’s New Air Travel Requirements Could Impact Cruising

It is becoming more evident each day that flight restrictions and quarantine periods are here to stay for a significant amount of time. And as long as these restrictions remain in place, cruising will not return as we know it.

What is the solution? Well, it will likely be vaccines. Georgia, a small former Soviet State on the Black Sea, is the first country to allow unrestricted travel for those who have had full vaccinations.

Two weeks ago, SAGA cruises announced a vaccine requirement for all guests. Will the major cruise lines follow? For now, they remain skeptical, with more time passing, this could change.

Main Photo Credit: Mazur Travel /

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