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The cruise industry is starting to return to “normal” or at least approaching pre-pandemic experiences. More cruise lines have recently lifted the pre-testing requirement for COVID-19 and are waiting to get more permission from government authorities to implement the measure worldwide.
Viking Cruises became the first cruise line to drop the pre-test requirement a few weeks ago. This Swiss-based company started the trend, and now P&O Cruises, Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Line also announced the end of this measure.
Netherlands America released a statement: “As health protocols around the world continue to evolve, we are adjusting our policies to align with those of the countries we visit.” Guests sailing July 10, 17 and 24 on the 2021-built ship will not be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken before boarding, as was the case previously.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd shared a press release on July 6 to announce the lifting of the pre-testing measure: “The relaxation of the testing policy is in line with the rest of the travel, leisure and hospitality industry worldwide as society continues adapt and return to a normal state.”
However, The United States still requires travelers to take a test for COVID-19 before departure and cruise lines have decided to implement and will ask guests to comply with this measure. Also, other countries such as Canada, Greece and Bermuda require pre-tests and customers must comply with the norms.
These cruise lines have also reiterated that vaccinations are still mandatory. Holland America stated: “The company continues to strongly recommend that all guests be up-to-date on vaccination protocols and test as readily as possible prior to travel.”
As COVID-19 measures continue to change, others remain, some cruise lines still require passengers to wear masks under certain circumstances. Travelers should stay up to date with the new rules – which vary depending on the cruise line and destination – before they depart.
More about removing the pre-test for COVID-19
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has informed customers that passengers will no longer need to be tested for COVID-19 before departure beginning August 1, unless departing from the United States or other ports where it is still mandatory.
The company has ensured that all routes and ships operate “under its robust science-backed SailSAFE health and safety program” and follow all local protocols in each port. They also encouraged travelers to stay up-to-date with vaccination protocols and get a COVID-19 test “at their own convenience.”
of The measures apply to all of the company’s brands which include Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. This great cruise line will certainly be an example for other companies.
Holland America, another major cruise line subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, has confirmed that vaccination requirements are still in place for all passengers over 12 and boosters for all travelers over 18.
The removal of pre-departure testing is more specific: for the Rotterdam vessel with European routes. Rotterdam will soon travel from Amsterdam to destinations in Norway.
The cruise line – headquartered in Seattle – also assured its commitment to maintaining safety and health measures in the statement: “Here at Holland America Line, the health and well-being of our guests, crew members and the communities we visit are our priority highest. Our protocols are designed to ensure a relaxing and memorable vacation experience while maximizing the health and safety of our guests and crew.”
P&O Cruises has dropped the pre-test requirement for its five Iona ships – 5,200 guest cruises – departing this summer. The company considered it safe as these ships cover short-term routes in the Norwegian fjords.
All companies have insisted that vaccinations are still necessary and it is recommended that travelers get tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure. Most of the routes approved for lifting the pre-test measure are in Europe.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions subject to change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before you travel. Travel Off Path does not endorse travel against government advice