Norwegian Cruise Line has taken a step towards normality this week by announcing it would be peeling back some of its Covid-19 related travel requirements. The cruise line giants – known for their laid-back, relaxed style of cruising – announced the updates to their Sail Safe policies during the week, with the changes scheduled to come into effect officially from March 1st – but some ships will still be subject to the rules in the regions they are sailing through.
It’s been far from smooth sailing for the cruise industry throughout the pandemic, with challenges from tough restrictions at much-loved ports to Covid breakouts on board the cruise ships each requiring some skillful steering from those in charge, but there are signs that things are brightening up at last. Here’s a closer look at the changes that Norwegian are set to make, why they won’t be universal for now and what the overall requirements are to board.
Norwegian Ease Requirements – What Travelers Should Know
Face masks have become an essential accessory for travelers over the past two years, and those traveling on the open seas are no different. However, one key change that Norwegian is set to make regards its mask-wearing policies. From March 1st, guests on board Norwegian cruises will no longer have to wear face masks on board – but the change won’t apply to all of the cruise line’s sailings.
Mask rules on Norwegian’s cruises are being relaxed due to the cruise line’s vaccination requirements. In a statement sent to guests and travel partners, Norwegian said:
“Our cruises will operate with 100% vaccination of crew and guests aged five and over, therefore face coverings are not required while onboard.”
“However, we recognize the added protections provided when wearing a mask covering and recommend that all guests do so onboard when indoors, except when actively eating or drinking, or seated at a table in a dining setting, or when in their stateroom. Mask coverings are also recommended outdoors when physical distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained. The decision to wear a mask covering when onboard is at the discretion of each guest.”
Norwegian also added that the removal of the obligation to wear masks when on board will not apply to cruises that sail through Europe. This is due to the fact that there are local restrictions in place across Europe that mean masks must be worn in both indoor and outdoor settings where physical distance cannot be maintained, so travelers on European cruises will need to persevere with masks for the time being.
Norwegian also made changes to their vaccination requirements. Previously, Norwegian operated a strict, 100% vaccination requirement, yet this has now been relaxed for children under the age of five, giving families with young children the opportunity to sail with Norwegian once more. For adults, the vaccination requirement remains the same.
For all cruises from March 1st, all guests will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result. These may be antigen or PCR tests, and must be administered by a verified third party or via a medically supervised home test. All guests over the age of 5 must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to their cruise’s scheduled departure in order to be able to sail with Norwegian.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com