With restrictions eased around the world, the pandemic might be all but over in the eyes of many travelers, but its lingering effects still have a hold on many aspects of the travel industry, particularly when it comes to cruises. Whilst many cruise lines have removed the requirement to wear masks on board, some cruise lines still have a mask mandate in place – including some that have recently re-added a mask wearing requirement for certain cruise routes.
Whether it’s a blanket mask wearing requirement or they’re only needed in certain situations, travelers thinking of heading off on a much needed cruise over the summer need to be aware of the rules regarding masks on the open seas. Here’s a look at which cruise lines still have a mask wearing requirement, and in which circumstances travelers will be required to mask up.
Masks On Cruise Ships – What Travelers Should Know
For several major cruise lines operating in the US and beyond, masks are no longer required, but are highly recommended in some situations for travelers. Cruise lines that have a recommendation rather than a require include cruising giants such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise, Celebrity Cruises and Virgin Voyages, giving travelers the freedom to enjoy a cruise in a way not too dissimilar to how it was before the pandemic.
Whilst they may be in the minority, there are also cruise lines that require some passengers to mask up at some points. Unlike with some other cruise lines, travelers boarding a Cunard Luxury Cruise Line cruise will be required to wear their masks during embarkation and disembarkation and when at certain ports. Thankfully, travelers will not need to wear a mask at any other point during their cruise, with masks option on board.
Disney Cruise Line, which recently welcomed a new ship to its fleet, requires unvaccinated children to wear their masks when using the shared youth centers on board, and also asks all travelers to wear a mask at all times when at the cruise terminal. MSC also requires unvaccinated children between 2 and 5 to wear a mask when indoors. However, as is the case with Cunard, these cruise lines stop short of asking adult travelers to wear a mask when on the ship, instead only recommending that they are worn.
However, there are some cruise lines that have recently reversed their removal of the mask mandate for certain cruises this summer. Both Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have made the unpopular decision to bring back their face mask requirements for select cruises from Alaska – a route that is popular with cruise enthusiasts – in the wake of a rising number of Covid-19 cases in the state.
A spokesperson for Princess Cruises said that “Masks are now required at all indoor locations on northbound and southbound Alaska voyages between Whittier and Vancouver until further notice,” whilst Holland America Line added:
“Currently, we are requiring masks in all indoor locations (except while eating, drinking, or in your stateroom) for select Alaska voyages (specifically one-way voyages from Whittier to Vancouver or Vancouver to Whittier).”
Travelers should also keep in mind that masks may be required in some destinations that their cruise visits – and the rules and requirements can change at any time. Whilst private destinations such as Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay won’t require a mask to be worn, some destinations across the Caribbean and Europe still require travelers to wear masks either on land or in the port, so it’s worth packing a few in your luggage just in case.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories