Beginning 03SEP, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) guests will no longer need to be vaccinated to sail on board any of the company's three cruise lines: Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), Regent Seven Seas Cruises (Regent) or Oceania Cruises.
Although other major cruise lines have revealed plans to ease requirements following the CDC's cancellation of its 'voluntary' cruise program, NCLH's move is the first to remove all pre-cruise protocols for vaccinated guests and permit unlimited numbers of unvaccinated guests on board - without requiring those unvaccinated guests to apply for a vaccination exemption.
In making the announcement 08AUG, NCLH says the move will "further align the Company to the broader travel, leisure and hospitality industry worldwide."
NCLH has made updates to its SailSAFE health and safety protocols. Now,
- vaccinated guests aged 12 and over will no longer have any pre-cruise COVID-19 related protocols, including testing;
- although they must meet the generally-accepted definition of “fully vaccinated” based on the destination they are embarking and/or traveling to and must provide proof of vaccination
- unvaccinated guests may embark with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure, subject to local regulations;
- NCLH has not placed a limit on the number or per cent of unvaccinated guests on board; and
- has not indicated that unvaccinated guests will need to apply for an exemption, both of which apply to other lines;
- guests aged 11 and under will not be subject to vaccination requirements or testing protocols of any kind.
The company notes that requirements may differ for guests traveling on voyages departing from or visiting destinations with specific local regulations. That includes cruise destinations like Greece, Bermuda, and Canada, where unvaccinated cruise guests are not permitted.
And at the same time, NCLH does continue to strongly recommend all guests be up to date on vaccination protocols and test at their convenience prior to travel.
“Our long-awaited revisions to our testing and vaccination requirements bring us closer in line with the rest of society, which has learned to adapt and live with COVID-19, and makes it simpler and easier for our loyal guests to cruise on our three best-in-class brands. Health and safety is our top priority and we will continue to modify our robust SailSAFE program as the public health environment evolves,” said Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
“The relaxation of protocols coupled with continued easing of travel restrictions and the reopening to cruise in more ports around the globe are meaningfully positive for our business as it reduces friction, expands the addressable cruise market, brings variety to itineraries and provides additional catalysts on the road to recovery.”