As of October 4, 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line will drop all health and safety restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, including pre-cruise testing, vaccination requirements, and mask-wearing guidelines.
While there may still be very limited destination-specific requirements, this represents the first major cruise line to commit to largely dropping all requirements for all sailings, and will be a welcome return to pre-pandemic cruising for eager travelers.
All Requirements Dropped
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the end of all COVID-19-related requirements from Tuesday, October 4, 2022.
Now, the cruise line will welcome all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, without the need for any pre-cruise testing.
“Many travelers have been patiently waiting to take their long-awaited vacation at sea and we cannot wait to celebrate their return,” said Harry Sommer, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer.
This update to the cruise line’s policies is now more in line with global health and safety requirements, as many popular cruise destinations have eased their protocols in recent months, including some of the strictest holdouts for testing and vaccination requirements.
For example, Barbados, St. Kitts, and Grand Cayman have all recently relaxed their entry requirements, permitting more travelers to easily visit those destinations without additional testing or paperwork. Similarly, Canada removed all its travel protocols from October 1.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s most recent relaxation of protocols was just one month ago, in early September. At that time, the cruise line removed pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests, but unvaccinated guests over age 12 were still required to submit a negative test result within 72 hours prior to departure.
This will be a welcome move for guests eager to set sail at a time when proctored tests are becoming more challenging to find, as many testing locations have limited their hours or closed completely because of less demand for testing results. Self-administered tests are still widely available in many locations.
Commitment to Health and Safety Remains
Despite easing these pre-cruise protocols, Norwegian Cruise Line still remains committed to a safe and healthy cruise environment for all guests and crew members.
“Health and safety are always our first priority; in fact, we were the health and safety leaders from the very start of the pandemic,” said Sommer.
Onboard protocols such as enhanced cleaning and sanitation, upgraded ionizing air filters, and improved medical facilities continue to be standard practice aboard all Norwegian Cruise Line ships. The cruise line also has quarantine facilities available on all ships if needed.
Destination Requirements Remain in Place
While the cruise line has now relaxed all its pandemic-related health and safety protocols, any requirements for specific destinations that may remain must be adhered to and will be enforced for impacted cruises.
For example, pre-cruise testing is still required for Australia sailings, travelers to Bermuda are still required to fill out a pre-arrival travel authorization and pay the associated fee as well as complete pre-cruise testing, and many South American and Central American countries also still require pre-cruise testing or other protocols.
Travelers visiting Greece, South Africa, Israel, Fiji, and Dubai also have specific protocols still in place.
Norwegian Cruise Line encourages travelers to stay updated on the requirements for specific destinations they may visit while sailing, bearing in mind that protocols can change at any time.