TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) Norwegian Cruise Line’s COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and masking requirements end Tuesday. The line announced the change of policy Monday morning. Effective Oct. 4, cruise line passengers will see eased health and safety protocols.
According to Norwegian Cruise Line officials, the change of policy is due to “significant, positive progress in the public health environment,” which prompted the company to update their health and safety guidelines.
“Health and safety are always our first priority; in fact, we were the health and safety leaders from the very start of the pandemic,” Harry Sommer, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Many travelers have been patiently waiting to take their long-awaited vacation at sea and we cannot wait to celebrate their return.”
Additionally, a list of required travel documents for cruise line passengers can be found here.
Previously, Norwegian Cruise Line removed a company policy requiring negative COVID-19 tests before setting sail, with the change taking effect in August, according to previous reports. Before that, the cruise company had canceled cruises during the omicron surge, then removed face mask requirements a month later.
While the health and safety protocols will ease beginning Tuesday, the cruise line said they’ll continue to follow travel guidelines required by each of their destinations. They’ve provided a list of travel requirements by country, online.
In August, Carnival Cruise Line updated their COVID testing policies for both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests, ending the need for guests to provide a negative test on cruises lasting fewer than 16 nights. That policy took effect on Sept. 6.
Similarly, Disney Cruise guests won’t have to be vaccinated or have COVID-19 negative test results beginning Sept. 23 on Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, Disney Wonder and the new Disney Wish, while guests on the Disney Magic won’t need proof of testing, if vaccinated, starting Nov. 7.
The cruise policy changes follow an end to reporting of COVID cases on cruises by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July, and President Joe Biden saying the pandemic was “not where it was” after stating the overall health crisis was over weeks beforehand.