Which Cruise Lines Have a COVID Vaccine Requirement?

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More and more cruise lines are now taking up the need for cruise passengers to be vaccinated. We’ll keep track of this growing list of cruise lines that have issued a vaccine mandate for passengers and even crew members.

Cruise Lines Requiring Vaccine

At the moment there are five cruise lines that have issued a vaccine mandate for cruise passengers. However, America Queen Steamboat and Victory Cruise lines are essentially the same company.

We’re seeing a growing number of lines issue the vaccine requirement as the rollout continues to be a success across the United States. More and more people are being vaccinated which can help bring the cruise industry back to life.

The situation in the U.S. remains at a pause, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention not yet allowing cruise lines to resume operations. Cruise lines prepare for their return, guided by the CDC’s framework on the Conditional Sailing Order. However, no sign of test sailings just yet, and cruise lines are awaiting further technical guidance on a safe return.

COVID-19 Vaccine

The Biden administration is looking at opening up limited international travel from mid-May, but that all depends on the vaccine rollout. How that could impact the CDC decision on cruises remains unknown.

For now, cruise operators are planning how they can keep passengers and crew safe for when operations do resume, and a big part of that is now a vaccine requirement, as seen in the following list (last updated on March 23, 2021):

American Queen Steamboat Company

The River cruise line now requires all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated with two doses before cruising. The cruise line doesn’t just want to ensure everyone on board is protected but also the communities the ships sail to.

The mandate begins on sailings starting July 1, and proof of vaccination will need to be provided before embarkation. AQSC has rebooking options for those who are unable to meet the requirement.

Avalon Waterways

On February 9, 2021, Avalon Waterways announced new important updates to its health measures, including proof of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before departure. The cruise line also issued a requirement for a negative test result within 72 hours of travel.

  • Guest Vaccine Requirement: Yes

Celebrity Cruises

On March 19, 2021, Celebrity Cruises announced that Celebrity Millennium would begin cruises out of St. Maarten on June 5, 2021. To make sure the experience remains safe only vaccinated adults will be allowed to cruises. Those under the age of 18 will need to show proof of a negative test.

Crew members working onboard will also be fully vaccinated and making the voyage as safe as possible. There is no vaccine requirement for when U.S. sailings resume at this time.

  • Guest Vaccine Requirement: Yes (St. Maarten departures)
  • Crew Vaccine Requirement: Yes (St. Maarten departures)
  • Official Advisory

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises was among the first to issue a vaccine mandate for guests on February 18, 2021. All guests will now need to be fully vaccinated before taking a Crystal cruise, and this includes the recently announced sailings in the Bahamas.

Guests will have to provide proof they’ve been fully vaccinated before embarkation. The new mandate is in addition to the Crystal Clean+ 4.0, which provides protocols on making sure cruising can be safe.

Crew members will not need to be vaccinated, but Crystal has already said that once possible, this will change. For now, the crew will be tested before leaving their home location and must receive a negative test. Another test will also be completed before embarkation, along with quarantine for seven days upon arrival.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

On April 1, we reported that a letter had been sent to all crew members and officers of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas. The crew will have to get one of the approved vaccines in their home country before even leaving for their ship.

  • Guest Vaccine Requirement: No
  • Crew Vaccine Requirement: Yes

P&O Cruises

On March 17, 2021, P&O Cruises in the UK announced its domestic sailings’ details starting in June 2021. The cruise line also noted that all guests of all ages must be vaccinated before taking the new cruise offerings. It’s also important to know that the domestic sailings are for UK residents only.

So guests must have their second dose at least seven days before departure. Proof of vaccination must be provided at arrival at the cruise terminal, and P&O will detail what forms to provide closer to departure.

The cruise line will deny any guests that are unable to provide any proof. It does apply to all ages, so it could be difficult to head out on a family cruise as the UK vaccine rollout is currently for adults.

The the crew, the cruise line will have a strict testing and quarantine regime in place during the voyage.

  • Guest Vaccine Requirement: Yes (All Ages)
  • Crew Vaccine Requirement: No
  • Official Advisory

Royal Caribbean

We’ve heard a lot of talk on Royal Caribbean and vaccines, but at the moment, there is no mandate for when the majority of cruises do eventually resume. However, guests will need to be vaccinated to cruise on the Odyssey of the Seas sailings out of Israel starting in May 2021 and on Adventure of the Seas out of the Bahamas starting in June 2021.

Adult guests will need to be fully vaccinated, and those under the age of 18 must have a negative test. Crew members will also be vaccinated for these sailings, which comes as no surprise.

  • Guest Vaccine Requirement: Yes (From Israel & the Bahamas)
  • Crew Vaccine Requirement: Yes
  • Official Advisory

SAGA Cruises

The British-based cruise line which caters to guests 50 years old and over was the first in the world to issue a vaccine mandate on January 20, 2021.

The cruise line requires that all guests must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure. This does mean that guests will need to have the second dose before taking a cruise. With the vaccine rollout heading in the right direction in the UK, SAGA is confident that most guests will be vaccinated.

However, there is confidence knowing that guests can request a full refund or re-book their voyage if not vaccinated in time before their sailing.

For now, there is only a requirement for guests, and the crew will not be vaccinated. There will be strict health measures in place for everyone on board and testing of crew members. There will be a vaccine mandate for the crew as soon as possible.

Swan Hellenic

The Expedition cruise line has so far only announced that its crew members will need to be vaccinated before joining any vessel. The crew will need to get this done at a vaccine clinic in their home country before leaving for the ship.

There has not yet been any details about guests needing to be vaccinated. Swan Hellenic could be waiting to see how the rollout develops around the world.

  • Guest Vaccine Requirement: No
  • Crew Vaccine Requirement: Yes


The adventure cruise line updated its policy on March 18 which does now include a vaccine requirement for all guests and crew 18 years old and over. This is in addition to other health protocols including a test before leaving home for the cruise and a health questionnaire being completed during check-in.

Proof will need to be provided to the cruise line showing of full vaccination including any second dose needed.

Victory Cruise Lines

Just like sister line America Queen Steamboat Company, Victory Cruise Lines has issued a vaccine mandate for all guests and crew members. This applies to sailings starting from July 1, 2021. if two doses are required for a vaccine then guests and crew will need to have received both.

Virgin Voyages

On March 16, it was revealed by Virgin Voyages’ President and CEO, Tom McAlpin that guests and crew would need to be vaccinated. With the cruise line being for adults-only it allows Virgin to offer a safe and secure cruising experience.

It’s all due to the successful rollout of the vaccine across the United States. It’s providing the cruise line hope that cruises will be able to resume by the summer. Scarlet Lady which is Virgin’s first-ever cruise ship is currently scheduled to begin sailings out of Miami in early July 2021. No specific details on the mandate have yet been released.

  • Guest Vaccine Requirement: Yes
  • Crew Vaccine Requirement: Yes

Windstar Cruises

Windstar is the latest cruise line to require all guests to be vaccinated. Guests will have to show proof they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to embarkation. The proof will need to be presented before embarkation.

In addition, a negative antigen test is required and this will be done on arrival to the terminal. The crew will also undergo strict health measures but no vaccinations.

More Cruise Lines to Follow

As the vaccine rollout across the United States and beyond continues we could see this list grow even further. Do note that the situations remains very fluid and we’ll keep making updates so Cruise Hive readers can stay fully informed.

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