Cruise lines are tightening safety protocols on board due to the spread of the Omicron variant.
While there is still a lot to learn about the new variant, it is clearly spreading quickly, even among people who have been vaccinated. It’s a big blow to the cruise industry, which has relied on the vast majority of fully vaccinated crew and passengers to keep outbreaks as low as possible.
Several lines, including Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, have therefore put in place temporary rules for mandatory indoor masks.
Here are the latest updates:
- Carnival Cruise
Until January 31, 2022, all guests over the age of two are “requested” to wear a mask at all times inside the ship. The only exceptions are for eating / drinking and inside the cabins.
The line also has a ban on smoking in the casino at all times. Until now, passengers could smoke if they sat and played a game.
Carnival has also added a vaccine booster recommendation to its health protocols.
“The CDC has strongly recommended that all people over 16 get a COVID-19 booster shot when eligible. We strongly encourage all eligible passengers to receive their booster vaccine at least seven days before boarding. “
-Royal Caribbean International
For all sailings departing before January 5, 2022, Royal Caribbean states that passengers two years of age and older must wear the mask “indoors in public areas of the ship, unless they are seated and eating or drinking. “.
Previously, Royal Caribbean allowed guests to go without a mask to areas reserved for vaccinated passengers only.
-Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian has been steadfast in its rules since resuming service – all passengers and crew must be fully immunized.
This requirement has allowed NCL to be one of the few lines that does not require masks to be worn anywhere on the ship. Omicron has, at least temporarily, ended this pass.
“For crossings with boarding dates up to and including December 19, 2021, all guests and crew are required to wear the mask on board indoors, except when eating or drinking, or when they’re seated at a table or when they’re in their cabin, ” Norwegian said.
The line is also committed to reducing the capacity of customers to “allow physical distancing on board”.
Passengers, however, need to be prepared for short-term policy changes.