Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings relaxes pre-cruise Covid rules

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings will drop all pre-cruise Covid-19 requirements for vaccinated passengers from September 3.

Unvaccinated passengers aged 12 and over boarding a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) Holdings ship will still require a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours before they embark.

The group, which owns Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, announced the relaxation of Covid-19 protocols for passengers aged 12 and over on all cruises from September 3 although the requirements are subject to local regulations.

In a statement announcing the change, the group noted: “Requirements may differ for guests travelling on voyages departing from or visiting destinations with specific local regulations, including but not limited to Canada, Greece and Bermuda.”

It added: “The company continues to strongly recommend all guests be up to date on vaccination protocols and test at their convenience prior to travel.”

The move follows the removal of mandatory Covid-19 requirements for cruise passengers by the US Centers for Disease Control on July 18.

NCL Holdings president and chief executive Frank Del Rio said: “Our long-awaited revisions to our testing and vaccination requirements bring us closer in line with the rest of society, which has learned to adapt and live with Covid-19 and makes it simpler and easier for our guests.

“Health and safety is our top priority and we will continue to modify our robust SailSAFE programme as the public health environment evolves.”

Del Rio added: “The relaxation of protocols coupled with continued easing of travel restrictions and reopening to cruise of more ports are meaningfully positive for our business.

“It reduces friction, expands the cruise market, brings variety to itineraries and provides additional catalysts on the road to recovery.”

Unvaccinated passengers or those who can’t provide proof of vaccination must present a “medically administered” PCR or antigen Covid-19 test result taken no more than 72 hours before boarding.

The group noted: “Vaccinated guests must meet the generally accepted definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ based on the destination they are embarking and/or traveling to and must provide proof of vaccination.”

Passengers aged 11 and under are not subject to vaccination or test requirements.

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