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Do I need a COVID vaccine to cruise? A line-by-line guide

Oct. 04, 2023
12 min read
Vials With the Covid-19 Vaccine and Syringes are Displayed On a Tray at the Corona Vaccination Center
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When the first cruises allowing Americans restarted in spring 2021, all major lines were sailing with at least 90% of passengers vaccinated against COVID-19. That meant they required just about everyone on board to have their shots, with only a few exceptions allowed for young children and people who can't be vaccinated due to medical conditions or religious beliefs.

Since then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has withdrawn its opt-in guidance for cruise lines, and most are now allowing unvaccinated passengers to sail. In fact, most aren't even checking to see if cruisers are vaccinated or not.

However, with cases picking up seasonally and new booster vaccines rolling out, will you need a vaccine to cruise? Click on your favorite cruise line above, under "Jump to Section," to find out.

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Note: In order to be considered "fully vaccinated," passengers must have received their final shot (not including boosters) at least 15 days prior to embarkation. Most lines only accept vaccines (or a combination of vaccines) recognized and approved by the World Health Organization and the CDC. Generally, proof of inoculation must include your name, the type of vaccine you received and the dates on which you received all required doses.

Booster shots are not required unless specifically noted. However, keep in mind that the rules may vary by country, with some lines requiring boosters for international departures due to local regulations or for extra-long sailings like ocean crossings when port calls are few or nonexistent. Passengers who have their boosters are considered "up to date" rather than merely "fully vaccinated."

For general information on testing, please refer to our article on cruise testing requirements.



Vaccine required? No

AmaWaterways no longer requires proof of vaccination for passengers. However, cruisers are responsible for meeting the requirements of the countries in which they'll be traveling. If they do not, standard cancellation fees will apply. Pre-cruise testing is not required. Should passengers become ill during their cruise, AmaWaterways will assist in procuring testing and other medical services, which will be the financial responsibility of those guests.

American Cruise Lines

Vaccine required? No

American Cruise Lines does not have a vaccine requirement for all passengers on any of its sailings. Pre-cruise testing is no longer required.

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American Queen Voyages

Vaccine required? No

Vaccines are not required to sail with American Queen Voyages, and pre-cruise testing is no longer required.

Related: What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19 on your cruise

Atlas Ocean Voyages

Vaccine required? No

Vaccination is not mandatory for Atlas cruises, but passengers must comply with regulations in countries on their scheduled itinerary, which could require that they be up to date on their shots. Additionally, pre-cruise testing is no longer a requirement.

Avalon Waterways

Vaccine required? No

Avalon Waterways no longer requires proof of vaccination or a negative test prior to passenger boarding. However, mandatory testing and proof of vaccination could still be required in some countries the line visits.



Vaccine required? No

Azamara recommends that passengers follow local regulations and the latest guidance from government health organizations when determining which vaccines to obtain prior to travel. The line also does not require negative test results in order to board unless mandated by local governments in the ports where the line's ships sail.

Carnival Cruise Line

Vaccine required? No

Neither vaccines nor pre-cruise testing is required for Carnival sailings. However, the line recommends that anyone 5 years or older be up to date on their shots and carry proof. It also suggests that cruisers test themselves no further than three days from their sailing date to make sure they're in good health.

Celebrity Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Celebrity does not mandate vaccination or testing for any passenger on any sailing unless required by regulations in the ports its ships are visiting.

Related: Cruise ship contact tracing: How the world's major lines are tracking COVID-19 exposure

Celestyal Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Celestyal continues to require all crew members to be fully vaccinated, but passengers don't have to be. The line recommends anyone 12 and older be up to date on their inoculations. Testing is also no longer necessary in order to board Celestyal ships.


Cunard Line

Vaccine required? No

Although Cunard suggests that travelers be fully vaccinated and current with their boosters, proof of immunization is not required, nor is pre-cruise testing for any of the line's sailing unless required by law.

Disney Cruise Line

Vaccine required? No

Disney Cruise Line encourages — but does not require — all passengers to be fully vaccinated before sailing. It also recommends pre-cruise testing, no more than two days prior to embarkation, for anyone who doesn't have their shots.

Emerald Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Emerald Cruises suggests that all passengers be vaccinated, but it no longer checks for proof. Pre-cruise testing is also no longer required, but the line advises travelers to check local regulations in the places they'll be visiting.

Grand Circle Cruise Line

Vaccine required? Yes

Grand Circle has mandated that all passengers must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to embarkation as a condition of carriage, and proof must be provided before boarding. Passengers who are not fully vaccinated will have to return home at their own expense. Boosters are not mandatory. Pre-cruise testing might be required, depending on your port of embarkation. (The line will send you that information prior to your sailing.)

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Hapag-Lloyd does not require vaccinations or pre-cruise testing as a condition of sailing. However, the line recommends both to passengers as precautions. It also advises that cruisers are responsible for knowing and adhering to all local guidelines and regulations.


Holland America

Vaccine required? No

Holland America now allows unvaccinated passengers to sail and does not make pre-cruise testing compulsory unless either of these is required by local regulations in the areas its vessels sail. Booked cruisers can search for requirements specific to their individual sailings by using this tool.


Vaccine required? Sometimes

On expedition cruises with Hurtigruten, passengers are not required to show proof of vaccination, except on 2023 and 2024 voyages to Antarctica and the Northwest Passage or West Africa sailings departing from and returning to Dakar. Immunization is also not necessary for the line's non-expedition itineraries, but it is recommended for both coastal voyages and expedition cruises. Neither type of cruise requires negative test results as a condition of embarkation. Passengers with reservations can check specific protocols for their specific bookings using this tool.

Lindblad Expeditions

Vaccine required? No

Lindblad passengers no longer need to provide proof of vaccination in order to cruise, and pre-cruise testing is no longer required, including at embarkation. Exceptions might apply for departures from certain destinations. The line urges passengers to follow government recommendations for masking, testing and vaccination.

Related: Why I feel safer now on a cruise ship than in my hometown

MSC Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Vaccination and testing are no longer terms of carriage when sailing with MSC Cruises. The line still recommends that passengers receive their shots and notes that it's each passenger's responsibility to comply with local regulations in the places their sailing visits.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Vaccine required? No

In early August 2022, Norwegian Cruise Line became the first major cruise line to roll back its vaccination requirements. Proof of immunization is no longer required, nor is testing in order to board for any voyage.


Oceania Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Upscale cruise line Oceania does not check vaccination records for passengers, nor does it require pre-cruise testing for its sailings.

P&O Cruises

Vaccine required? No

There are no vaccination or testing mandates in place for any of P&O Cruises' voyages.


Vaccine required? No

Ponant's website simply reads, "when you visit certain destinations, vaccines can be recommended," but they are not required by the line. Ponant also says it will alert passengers to their specific requirements after they have booked a voyage. Testing is also not needed in order to board.

Princess Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Following an industry-wide rollback of protocols, Princess passengers no longer have to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine, nor proof of a negative test result, unless either is required by local regulations. Passengers are responsible for knowing the requirements for the places their ships will visit.


Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Regent doesn't check the vaccination status of any of its passengers unless required by local protocols. Testing requirements vary by location and might depend on whether or not you are up to date on your shots. If vaccination or testing is required, the line will alert cruisers approximately 30 days prior to their sailing date.

Royal Caribbean

Vaccine required? No

To board Royal Caribbean ships, you don't have to be vaccinated or provide test results. However, the line advises staying up to date on inoculations and following guidelines issued by federal health authorities.


Vaccine required? No

Saga has rolled back its vaccination and testing requirements, which is significant, given that the line only allows passengers 50 and older to sail on its vessels. They will only be required if local authorities dictate them.

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Vaccine required? No

Passengers embarking on river and ocean voyages with Scenic will not need to be fully immunized prior to sailing. Testing is not required by the line but might be needed to enter the country in which you're embarking on your sailing. Passengers are responsible for meeting entry requirements.



Vaccine required? No

For cruises with luxury line Seabourn, there are no line-enforced regulations for vaccination or testing unless required by local authorities in the countries on which its vessels call. To see if your booked sailing requires either of these, check out the line's search tool.


Vaccine required? No

Luxury brand Silversea does not require shots for its passengers or pre-cruise tests unless they're needed to meet local regulations.

Star Clippers

Vaccine required? No

Star Clippers has eliminated all vaccine checks and testing protocols for all passengers on all voyages.



Vaccine required? Yes

For all voyages through 2023, Tauck requires passengers 12 and older to be fully vaccinated and have at least one booster dose and/or show proof of recovery from COVID-19. Passengers 11 years old and younger are not required to be fully vaccinated. If they aren't fully vaccinated or don't have a booster, they must provide proof of a negative PCR or antigen test result from a test taken no more than three days prior to embarkation. For sailings in 2024, vaccination and testing requirements will be waived for all passengers.

UnCruise Adventures

Vaccine required? No

All UnCruise passengers are exempt from vaccine and testing requirements. The line will continue to monitor the effects of new variants, as well as CDC recommendations and will adjust its policies accordingly.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Vaccine required? No

Testing requirements are determined by the countries the ships visit, but the line itself has no vaccine or testing mandates of its own. You can check the protocols for the places on your itinerary for the most up-to-date information by visiting the protocols page on Uniworld's website.


Vaccine required? Yes

All Viking passengers, whether on a river sailing or an ocean voyage, must be fully vaccinated for sailings departing on or before Oct. 31, 2023. It will not be required for cruisers embarking on or after Nov. 1, 2023. Testing is no longer required unless passengers are exhibiting symptoms and seek medical assistance.

Virgin Voyages

Vaccine required? No

Virgin Voyages will not check proof of immunization or a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding.

Windstar Cruises

Vaccine required? No

Windstar no longer mandates shots for passengers of any age. Testing is not required by the line but might be necessary based on local regulations, which with passengers must comply.

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.