In addition to getting vaccinated, these cruise lines have also implemented rules for mask-wearing and testing to ensure a safe sailing.
Advertisement

As cruises are starting to hit the high seas after a difficult year filled with cancellations and question marks, many are requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19, mask-wearing, and testing in order to board.

Almost all cruise lines are requiring all guests aged 18 and older to be fully vaccinated before boarding — no exceptions —  taking advantage of the vaccine rollout to give guests peace of mind. Many cruise lines also require the booster, so it is important to know which vaccines are required before travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that both passengers and crew be vaccinated before boarding a ship, and relaxed safety protocols for vaccinated passengers, allowing them to potentially ditch their masks and explore ports on their own.

Below, we break down each line welcoming vaccinated cruisers as well as what travelers need to know if they plan to sail.

American Queen Voyages

Where they sail:

American Queen Voyages is known for its Mississippi River cruises as well as sailings down other U.S. rivers like the Columbia and Snake rivers, using classic paddle wheeler ships for a throwback romantic vibe.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated (14 days after their final shot). Guests must also have a negative COVID-19 PCR test completed within 2 days of embarkation.

What other safety measures are in place: Before boarding, guests must check in to a pre-cruise hotel and get tested for COVID-19. Luggage is then disinfected before being brought onto the ship and staterooms cleaned with electrostatic fogging. Masks will be required during the embarkation process and while riding a shore excursion bus, but will not be required on board.

Find out more: American Queen Voyages

Avalon Waterways

Where they sail: These small-ship river cruises sail throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and down the Nile River in Egypt.

Who needs the vaccine: All international travelers from the U.S. must be fully vaccinated before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests will undergo a health screening upon arrival and luggage will be disinfected. Avalon will provide COVID-19 testing for travelers who need to show proof of a negative test to return home at no extra cost.

Find out more: Avalon Waterways

Azamara

Where they sail: Azamara sails mid-size ships all over the world, to all seven continents.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew 12 and older will be required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding a ship. Guests under 12 on cruises from Athens will have to take an antigen test at the pier and again at the end of cruise.

What other safety measures are in place: Guests will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Azamara's ships have been upgraded with new HVAC filtration systems, and EPA-certified disinfectants are used to clean the ship. Depending on where travelers have been 15 days leading up to the trip they may be denied boarding. Passengers who have traveled through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Italy, Iran, or South Korea will be denied boarding.

Find out moreAzamara

Carnival Cruises

Where they sail: Carnival sails large ships around the world, including popular trips to the Caribbean. The company sailed its maiden voyage on the Mardi Gras out of Florida in July. 

Who needs the vaccine: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding one of Carnival's "vaccinated cruises." Unvaccinated passengers 12 and older sailing on a Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, or Maryland-based ship who are granted an exemption must provide proof of a doctor's note attesting to the medical reason they can't be vaccinated, according to the cruise line there are few exceptions. The vaccine exemption process is currently open for sailings through Dec. 31, 2022. Guests will be notified when we extend this period.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests, regardless of vaccination status, are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within three days of the start of their cruise. All guests are also required to wear masks in many indoor areas like elevators and in the casino. Unvaccinated guests must also undergo several tests and are required to participate in "bubble" shore excursions. For cruises leaving out of Florida and Texas, unvaccinated passengers 12 and older must also obtain travel insurance.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests who have recovered from COVID-19 within three months of their sailing date, do not need the required pre-cruise COVID test before embarkation, only if they are at least 10 days past their COVID-19 infection, have no symptoms and present documentation of recovery from COVID-19 from their healthcare provider. 

Find out more: Carnival Cruise Line

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Apex
Celebrity Apex
| Credit: Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Where they sail: Celebrity Cruises sails all over the world.

Who needs the vaccine: Guests 12 and older must be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. On UK sailings, guests 18 and older must be fully vaccinated. Celebrity makes some exceptions but requires vaccination on the Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Equinox, and Celebrity Summit out of South Florida.

What other safety measures are in place: Children who are not eligible to be vaccinated (between the ages of 2-11) must bring a negative PCR test result taken within three days of embarkation. An additional COVID-19 Antigen test will be administered in the terminal before boarding and on the day before disembarkation

Find out more: Celebrity Cruises

Cunard

Where they sail: Cunard, which sails all over the world, is known for its transatlantic journeys aboard the Queen Mary 2.

Who needs the vaccine: Cunard's initial cruises will be open only to UK residents who are fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. All guests 18 and older must be fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated passengers under 18 will be required to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours of their departure.

What other safety measures are in place: Cunard has "enhanced" their onboard ventilation systems and implemented mandatory mask-wearing policies indoors. Crew will be tested regularly while on board. Guests who have certain pre-existing medical conditions, including those who are on supplementary oxygen, will not be allowed to board.

The Queen Victoria is set to resume sailing April 22, 2022.

Find out more: Cunard

Disney Cruise Line

Where they sail: Disney sails family-friendly journeys including to the Caribbean, Europe, and Alaska.

Who needs the vaccine: Guests 18 and older must be vaccinated before embarking on Disney's planned UK sailings. Guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding a ship to the Bahamas.

What other safety measures are in place: For sailings out of the U.S., Disney requires unvaccinated guests to get a COVID-19 PCR test between 5 days and 24 hours of embarking on a ship and undergo a rapid PCR test at the terminal at their own expense. Unvaccinated guests 12 and older leaving on a cruise out of Florida through the end of the year will also have to show proof of travel insurance. All guests, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks indoors.

For UK sailings, Disney will require guests under 18 to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between five days and 24 hours prior to boarding. All guests will be required to undergo a rapid antigen test before embarkation and all guests 11 and older must wear masks indoors.

Find out more: Disney Cruise Line

Grand Circle Cruise Line

Where they sail: Grand Circle Cruise Line sails small ships and river cruises all over the world, including an extensive list of European itineraries. The company plans to start sailing again in August, including to Greece, Turkey, and Italy.

Who needs the vaccine: Beginning on April 1, 2022 all guests and crew will be required to be fully vaccinated with the booster shot.

What other safety measures are in place: All ships have been equipped with High Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filters and buffets have been eliminated.

Holland America

Where they sail: Holland America sails large ships all over the world, including to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Europe, and more.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be required to be vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: Passengers are required to undergo a PCR or antigen test within three days of boarding a ship. Holland America ships will have COVID-19 testing capabilities on board and feature enhanced air filtration with upgraded HVAC systems. The cruise line will supply tests for return trips to home countries at no additional cost.

Find out more: Holland America

Lindblad Expeditions

Where they sail: Lindblad Expeditions is known for its adventurous trips to hard-to-reach destinations like Antarctica and the Russian Far East, partnering with National Geographic to add to the experience.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests 12 and older need to be vaccinated before boarding. What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccines, all guests are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three to five days before their trip as well as undergo a second rapid antigen test before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccines, all guests will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test as well as undergo a second rapid antigen test before boarding.

Find out more: Lindblad Expeditions

MSC Cruises 

Where they sail: MSC Cruises sails large ocean cruises around the world, including throughout Europe, South America, the Persian Gulf, and the Caribbean. In August, the company started sailing to the Bahamas with a stop at its private island, Ocean Cay.

Who needs the vaccine: Guests 12 and older are required to be fully vaccinated before boarding, guests must bring their physical vaccine card, or certificate at the time of embarkation.

What other safety measures are in place: Fully-vaccinated passengers are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within three days of their departure. Unvaccinated children must show proof of a negative PCR test. All guests will be tested at the terminal before boarding.

Find out more: MSC Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line

Where they sail: Norwegian sails big ocean cruises all around the world, including popular itineraries all throughout the Caribbean and Greece.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. In addition to vaccines, guests are required to undergo a rapid antigen test before boarding. Each ship has a dedicated Public Health Officer on board.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccines, guests are required to undergo a rapid antigen test before boarding. Each ship has a dedicated Public Health Officer on board.

Find out more: Norwegian Cruise Line

Oceania Cruises

Where they sail: Oceania Cruises sails all over the world, including offering several World Cruise itineraries.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests will be required to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: Initially, the company will "control the guest capacity onboard" as well as have a Public Health Officer and Infectious Disease Prevention Officer on board.

Find out more: Oceania Cruises

P&O Cruises

Where they sail: The UK-based cruise line sails around Europe, including to the Canary Islands, as well as to the Caribbean from Southampton in the UK. 

Who needs the vaccine: All guests who plan to join one of the company's sailings must be vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. Unvaccinated passengers under 18 will be required to show a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their trip.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests are required to undergo a COVID-19 test at the terminal. Masks will be required on board indoors, and all shore excursions will be with vetted operators.

Find out more: P&O Cruises

Princess Cruises

Where they sail: The global cruise line sails large ocean ships all around the world, from Australia to Alaska.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests are required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding. Boosters are not required, but highly recommended.

What other safety measures are in place: Guests on U.S. cruises are required to show a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within three days of boarding and wear a mask indoors. Unvaccinated guests who receive an exemption will have to undergo several tests. All guests must wear masks indoors in places like elevators, shops, and the casino, or where social distancing cannot be maintained.

On UK sailings, unvaccinated guests under 18 must show proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their departure. All guests must get tested at the terminal.

Find out more: Princess Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Where they sail: Regent Seven Seas offers all-inclusive luxury cruises around the globe, which include perks like free airfare, free excursions, and complimentary unlimited drinks on board. The company is also offering free multi-day land extensions before and after sailings for several cruises leaving between October 2021 and March 2022.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. Guests will need to show proof of their physical vaccination card prior to boarding.

What other safety measures are in place:  All guests must take a rapid antigen test before boarding. Staterooms will be cleaned with "intensive non-toxic microbial disinfection" each day.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas
Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas
| Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Where they sail: Royal Caribbean sails large ocean ships all over the world, including many popular itineraries throughout the Caribbean and Asia.

Who needs the vaccine: Royal Caribbean requires all guests 12 and older to show proof of vaccination before boarding. Royal Caribbean will not accept a Certificate of Recovery in lieu of a vaccination record card for guests who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests must get tested for COVID-19 before their cruise, regardless of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated minors must also take a rapid PCR test at the terminal before boarding and get tested again before disembarking. As crew become eligible for their boosters they will be required to receive it.

Saga

Where they sail: The British cruise line, exclusively for guests 50 and older, sails both ocean and river cruises around the globe.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be fully vaccinated, including a booster shot at least 14 days before boarding a ship. Saga was the first major cruise line to implement this vaccination policy.

What other safety measures are in place: The cruise line has reduced capacity and is offering a private chauffeur car per household for up to 250 miles. All guests will be required to get tested for COVID-19 in the terminal.

Find out more: Saga

Seabourn

Where they sail: Seabourn's mid-size luxury cruises head all around the world, from Alaska to the Caribbean.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be fully vaccinated before boarding. Guests must take a COVID-19 PCR test within two days before sailing.

What other safety measures are in place: Masks are required onboard except while eating or drinking or in a private room. For passengers in need of a test upon returning to their home country the cruise will provide at no cost.

Find out more: Seabourn

Silversea

Silver Shadow cruise ship
Credit: Silversea

Where they sail: Silversea brings guests all around the world in luxury and style, including to the Galapagos and Antarctica.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding. Beginning March 1, 2022 the booster will be required for eligible guests.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests will be tested before boarding a ship and halfway through their trip. Guests will also be able to take a test before disembarking. Passengers are required to wear masks indoors.

Find out more: Silversea

UnCruise Adventures

Where they sail: This small-ship company is known for its Alaska journeys as well as adventures in places like the Galapagos and island hopping in Hawaii. 

Who needs the vaccine: All guests 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests must show proof of a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding. Guests are required to wear masks onboard until further notice. Each ship can perform rapid molecular tests on board. The cruise states they will not visit any destinations where vaccine rates are low.

Find out more: UnCruise Adventures

Victory Cruise Lines

Where they sail: Victory Cruise Lines is known for its Great Lakes cruises, providing all-inclusive sailings to see breathtaking sights from Niagara Falls to the iconic architecture of Chicago from Lake Michigan. Beyond the U.S., Victory Cruise Lines sails to Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests and crew will be required to be vaccinated before boarding, and will be required to show physical proof prior to boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: Guests must check in to a hotel before their cruise and be tested. Before boarding, guests must undergo a temperature check and have their luggage disinfected. Staterooms are disinfected with electrostatic fogging twice each day.

Find out more: Victory Cruise Lines

Viking Cruises

Where they sail: Viking sails ocean and river cruises all over the world, including throughout Europe. This summer, Viking will sail several voyages, including around England for UK residents, to Bermuda, and to Iceland in June.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests must be fully vaccinated to board a ship. Guests who are eligible must have a booster.

What other safety measures are in place: In addition to vaccines, all guests may be required to undergo a saliva PCR test at embarkation as well as "frequent" testing throughout the journey. All staterooms are equipped with independent air handling units.

Find out more: Viking Cruises

Virgin Voyages

Resilient Lady
Credit: Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

Where they sail: The brand-new cruise line is launching mini sailings from England for UK residents, and has cruises throughout the Caribbean, and transatlantic options.

Who needs the vaccine: All passengers will be required to be vaccinated at least two weeks before boarding.

What other safety measures are in place: All passengers must undergo a rapid antigen test before boarding.

Find out more: Virgin Voyages

Windstar Cruises

Where they sail: Windstar operates small-ship cruises and several sailing vessels all around the globe, including to places like Central America.

Who needs the vaccine: All guests will be required to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding one of Windstar's yachts. Boosters are highly encouraged and are recommended to be administered at least one week prior to travel.

What other safety measures are in place: All guests must also undergo a COVID-19 rapid antigen test at the pier before boarding, and masks must be worn indoors as well as outdoors when unable to social distance. Windstar also offers the option of getting tested for a fee before disembarking in order to comply with border testing requirements.

Find out more: Windstar Cruises

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.