Princess Cruises announced a significant change to its COVID-19 protocols today. It will remove all of its vaccine requirements for most voyages of less than 16 days so that anyone can cruise and adjusts pre-travel testing requirements to make it less complicated to sail.
The new protocols go into effect on September 6.
Princess Cruises Removes Vaccine Requirement, Eliminates Pre-Cruise Testing For Vaccinated Guests
Besides a handful of very long cruises, Princess Cruises will no longer require guests to be fully vaccinated and has made it significantly easier for guests to get tested before a cruise. The Carnival-owned cruise line announced the changes on August 12.
“These updated guidelines help ensure a Princess vacation is available to everyone,” said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises. “The Princess experience is truly one-of-a-kind and we encourage everyone to take a Princess vacation that offers amazing service at unmatched value.”
Starting September 6, vaccinated guests sailing on a cruise of fewer than 16 days in length will no longer have to test before boarding. They just need to upload proof of their vaccination on the OceanReady app.
Unvaccinated guests or those who do not provide proof of vaccination on those itineraries will only need to self-test within three days of sailing and upload evidence of a negative test before boarding to the Oceanready app.
The new guidelines are for all sailings where government requirements allow the cruise line to implement these guidelines. The exceptions are cruises sailing to and/or from Canada, Greece, and Australia. In short, the new protocols are:
- No pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests on voyages of up to 15 nights (guests five and older) except full Panama Canal transits, trans-ocean, and other unique itineraries;
- Unvaccinated guests must provide a negative self-test result taken within three days of embarkation (unvaccinated children under five years do not require pre-cruise testing)
- Guests sailing on voyages 16 nights or longer or sailing on full Panama Canal transits, trans-ocean, and other specific itineraries need to take a supervised test within three days of embarkation (guests five and older).
Princess Cruises The Next Major Cruise Line To Remove Requirements
The change from Princess Cruises is huge news, and with it, the cruise line is the second major cruise line to remove most vaccine requirements.
On August 10, Royal Caribbean announced that further updates would be coming on departures from September 5, 2022, on select sailings. The vaccine requirement on cruises out of Galveston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and homeports in Europe will be dropped.
The new protocols mean cruising is open to a significantly larger group of people, many of whom have been waiting for more than a year for the opportunity to step onboard a cruise ship again.
With Princess Cruises part of Carnival Corporation, the door is open to all cruise brands under the Carnival umbrella to move in the same direction.
This includes Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Seabourn, Costa Cruises, and more. Earlier today, P&O Cruises and Cunard already announced relaxed protocols for their sailings.
Of course, the question remains whether or not the choice is the right one. Experts still expect cases of COVID-19 to rise again with the approach of Autumn. We can only hope that Princess Cruises hasn’t set itself up for a repeat of the problems the cruise line experienced at the start of the pandemic.
Princess Cruises’ announcement comes in a period where more cruise lines announced relaxed protocols for cruises.