Norwegian Cruise Line Changes Mind on Pre-Cruise Testing

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Norwegian Cruise Line sent out a letter to booked guests regarding a change to its pre-cruise testing that only required guests to test at home on sailings from January 17, 2022. The cruise line has backtracked that decision and has decided to continue its current procedures at the terminals.

Norwegian Cruise Line Backtracks

Just days after Norwegian Cruise Line sent a communication to guests on December 15, 2021, about pre-cruise testing changes, the cruise line has now backtracked its decision.

NCL was planning to lighten its pre-cruise testing by only requiring a single test before a cruise on sailings from January 17, 2022. It means guests would only need to get tested once at home and not go through an additional test during embarkation.

Terminal Testing
Photo Credit: Matt Bannister / Shutterstock

With the Omicron variant spreading and already impacting cruise lines, Norwegian Cruise Line has backtracked on its decision to ditch terminal testing.

The cruise line said in the letter, “Previously, we communicated that effective for voyages beginning January 17, 2022, we will only require our guests to test once at home. Due to the evolving health environment surrounding COPVID-19, we have determined it will be best to continue the practice of administering COVID-19 antigen tests to all guests at embarkation.”

Norwegian Cruise Ship in Miami
Photo Credit: TetKabrit /

As NCL has already been doing, guests will still be allowed to register with the cruise line’s test partner to receive an antigen test at the time of check-in. Guests will then wait at a designated area until their results are confirmed. To book the test, guests are provided with registration formations 21-days before sailing.

The letter goes on to say, “We still strongly encourage all guests to take a COVID_19 PCR test within 96-hours prior to their sail date as an added precaution. If a PCR test is not readily available, then we encourage guests to at a minimum take a CVOID-19 antigen test, prior to travel.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Testing Details

The current testing procedures will be in place through January 31, 2022. From February 1, 2022, NCL will move forward with guests only needing a verified third-party test at home as testing at the terminal will end. With protocols remaining very fluid and cruise lines adapting to the new variants, it’s always best to keep checking the latest updates as procedures could change again.

It’s a good move from Norwegian Cruise Line and would not be a logistical issue with the pre-cruise testing already in operation on current sailings. With Omicron becoming a concern for the cruise industry, having an added layer of protection with testing at home and the terminal will help protect guests and crew.

Sailings continue to operate for fully vaccinated guests only, and the protocols were updated last week with tightened face mask requirements. Guests are now required to wear a mask indoors except when eating and drinking and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

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