COVID HEALTH AND SAFETY
The health and safety of our clients is of top priority. In addition, we have handpicked all 2022 sailings based on specific onboard health protocols and ship cancellation policies. Our partners, in particular Norwegian Cruise Lines, have implemented strict protocols based on internal audits and CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations. The safety measures are innovative and incredibly proactive to help increase health measures. NCL has been incredibly successful in preventing and containing virus outbreaks since the pandemic began. NCL was innovative in its initial response to the outbreak and will continue to implement new stringent policies as more data becomes available. Below are some preliminary measures taken onboard NCL. Please note, that these measures can be modified or increased based on guidelines from health authorities:
STRONGER SCREENING PROTOCOLS
Every guest will undergo a pre boarding screening process that would include extensive touchless temperature screenings before embarkation, upon each port of call and prior to meals and activities. In addition, all crew will have an extensive pre-employment medical screening that will cover a wide variety of infectious diseases in addition to the most advanced COVID-19 testing. Also continuous crew temperature screenings will be given before boarding and throughout the voyages.
ALL-NEW AIR FILTRATION
NCL ships will replace existing air filters with medical-grade air-filters, H13 HEPA, that remove 99.95% of all particulates 0.1 microns or larger., of airborne pathogens to allow us to breathe clean air. As a base of comparison, Coronavirus is 0.125 microns (25% larger), a single blood cell is 10 microns (10,000% larger) and a single human hair is 75 microns (75,000% larger).
INCREASED SANITATION MEASURES
NCL maintains the highest level of cleanliness. The ships are taking it one step further and increasing their already stringent protocols by including HOCl Fogging (a non-toxic oxidant that kills bacteria, spores and viruses throughout the ship and terminals), 24/7 cleaning and disinfecting in high touch traffic points, increased hand washing and sanitizing stations and protocols.
RESPONSIBLE SOCIAL DISTANCING
Social distancing will be done primarily by reducing guests counts and staggering functions and boarding.
ENHANCED MEDICAL RESOURCES
NCL Onboard medical centres will be fully equipped with the latest advanced on-site rapid testing Covid kits, extra Oxygen equipment, increased medical treatments and vaccinations. The ship’s strong medical staff will include a newly created onboard position of Public Health Officer, responsible for the oversight of all sanitation and outbreak prevention initiatives.
EXTENDED SHIP TO SHORE SAFETY
NCL will only visit safe, open ports of call which may cause changes to itineraries.
NCL Pre-Cruise and Onboard Protocols
Mandatory Vaccinations Against Covid-19
All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated, at least 2 weeks prior to departure, in order to board. Guest vaccination requirements are currently for all sailings.
*Passengers sailing on any Norwegian Cruise Line ship need to be vaccinated with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA), and/or World Health Organization (WHO) authorized single brand vaccinations.
Universal testing & Pre-Embarkation Protocols
All guests will be required to take a COVID-19 antigen test, administered, and paid for by the cruise line, prior to boarding and receive a negative result. Any positive antigen test will be confirmed with a PCR test. Guests are also responsible for complying with all local health and safety requirements which may include additional testing.
Socially Responsible Check-In
We’ve designed an enhanced, staggered embarkation process and new check-in system to streamline check in for guests by allowing documents to be signed electronically.
Controlled Guest Capacity
We will initially control the guest capacity onboard each ship to provide even more space per guest.
All guests will be required to engage in frequent handwashing and hand sanitizer will be prominently placed and easily accessible throughout the ship.
Pre-Cruise and Onboard Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to take a COVID-19 test prior to arrival at the terminal?
We strongly encourage all guests to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 96-hours prior to their sail date as an added precaution. If a PCR test is not readily available, then we encourage guests to at a minimum take a COVID-19 antigen test, prior to travel. Please note that many countries are now requiring this, and requirements vary based on guest nationality, so we strongly urge you to check the official website of the country you are flying to, connecting through, or sailing to before travelling in order to comply with their requirements.
As a reminder, all guests are responsible for checking on travel restrictions and complying with all requirements. NCL recommends for all guests to follow, and where possible, sign up for notifications from their local government on international travel regulations that may prevent, restrict, or require additional documentation when traveling to another country for embarkation or during their cruise.
Please note: If a guest receives a positive COVID test at the pier testing at arrival, they will be denied boarding and will likely be required to quarantine by local officials. Norwegian Cruise Line will assist with expenses related to any mandatory quarantine that are not covered by their travel insurance only if the guest provides proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 96-hours of their travel date. Guests who are unable to provide proof of a negative test taken within 96-hours of their travel date will not qualify for reimbursement should the applicable expenses not be covered by their travel insurance.
- Proof of negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 96-hours of travel date must show guest name, date of birth and date the test was taken in order to be eligible.
Will all guests be required to be vaccinated prior to the cruise?
Given the continued public health concerns and our commitment to protecting guests, crew and the communities we visit, we are extending our vaccination policy requirement for the foreseeable future. As such, we will require all guests and crew to 1) be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, 2) acknowledge vaccination status prior to sailing and 3) present proof of vaccination at the pier at embarkation in order to board. Guests who are not old enough to be vaccinated per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) are not permitted to sail. As science, technology and government regulations evolve, we will update our health and safety protocols as needed and appropriate.
What vaccines will be accepted?
For All Norwegian Cruise Line Ships:
- Any U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA), and/or World Health Organization (WHO) authorized single brand vaccination protocol ≥2 weeks after receipt of the final dose.
- i.e. J&J Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford(Vaxzevria & CoviShield), etc.
- A mixed vaccination combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO Emergency Use Listed (EUL) COVID-19 two-dose series with a minimum interval of 17 days.
- Note: Individuals receiving a Janssen COVID-19 vaccine before or after another COVID-19 vaccine are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after receipt of the single dose of the Janssen vaccine.
- Current Unauthorized Vaccines: Sputnik V, COVAXIN, Inactivated SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero-Cell), Novavax, Covovax.
Vaccines received via clinical trials will not be accepted as they do not specify vaccine received.
To be fully vaccinated means to complete the full brand vaccination protocol of one brand of vaccine OR two doses of a mixed vaccination combination, and therefore a single shot of AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Sinopharm or Sinovac after COVID-19 recovery is NOT considered being fully vaccinated.
Will proof of vaccination be required for all cruises even in the future?
In order to provide the safest cruise experience possible, all guests and crew will need to be fully vaccinated. As science, technology and government regulations evolve, we will update our health and safety protocols as needed and appropriate.
Are children allowed to sail on your ships if they are not vaccinated?
The safety and security of our guests, crew and communities we visit is our number one priority. In order to provide the safest cruise experience possible, all guests and crew will need to be fully vaccinated for all sailings. Therefore, minors who have not yet been eligible to be vaccinated will not be permitted to sail on these voyages. Minors who meet the eligibility requirements set by FDA/WHO and/or EMA and who have been fully vaccinated are welcome to sail.
We look forward to the day when we can safely welcome these guests back on board our ships, when the public health environment allows us to modify our protocols accordingly. As science, technology and government regulations evolve, we will update our health and safety protocols as needed and appropriate.
What documents will be required to show proof of vaccination and when do I provide them?
Guest must acknowledge vaccination status prior to their sailing and bring proof of vaccination to the terminal for their cruise. Preferred proof form is the original vaccination record document issued by either the country’s health authority that administered the vaccination or the guest’s medical provider that completed the vaccine administration, however, photo of vaccination record document will also be accepted. Electronic vaccination records will be accepted for residents of countries where electronic documentation is the standard issued form. Confirmation email of vaccination appointment will not be accepted. Communication regarding proof of vaccination submission will be sent to all booked guests in the 30 days prior to setting sail.
What completed travel documents do I need to board the ship?
Global travel requirements are quickly evolving and vary by country of departure. Communication will be sent to all booked guests in the 30 days prior to setting sail, to share the latest requirements for each departure port. All guests are encouraged to download our Cruise Norwegian App to update their contact information so that we know how to reach you.
Given the fluidity of the current public health environment, all guests are strongly advised to monitor travel requirements and advisories for their home countries and are responsible for monitoring and complying with applicable travel restrictions.
At this time, we expect each guest will need to provide the following:
- Any documentation required from the country where the guest is embarking the This could include but is not limited to proof of a specific negative COVID-19 test result. These requirements will vary by country and is the responsibility of the guest;
- All guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with an authorized vaccine at least 2 weeks prior to their sail date;
- Negative COVID-19 antigen test result prior to embarkation, which will be administered and paid for by the Cruise Line;
- Completed health questionnaire (prior to embarkation);
- Standard travel documents, including passport or any visas as required;
- Any documentation required from the country the guest is traveling to, after the cruise. This could include but not be limited to proof of a specific negative COVID-19 test result. These requirements will vary by country and will be facilitated by Norwegian Cruise Line during the sailing at the responsibility of the guest’s request.
How do I know if there are any travel restrictions that could impact my cruise?
We are closely monitoring the evolving global public health environment and to the extent any itineraries are affected, we will notify impacted guests in a timely fashion and update our booking requirements. Additional travel restrictions for certain nationalities or countries may arise based on the quickly evolving public health environment. All guests are strongly advised to monitor current travel requirements and advisories for their home countries.
As of August 9, 2021, the Bahamas Government will only be accepting vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson Janssen, and AstraZeneca/Oxford in order for guests to disembark in the Bahamas. Guests who are fully vaccinated with Sinopharm BIBP and Sinovac will not be allowed to disembark in the Bahamas, however, they will be able to sail and remain onboard while in port.
For additional information, please visit Cruise Travel Requirements by Country.
Will any countries visited during the cruise require additional testing to enter the country?
We will comply with all local regulations at all destinations we visit. These regulations are continuously evolving and if an additional test is required at a port of call we will provide advanced notice to all guests. For additional information, please visit Cruise Travel Requirements by Country.
Will I have to sign a COVID-19 waiver to board a ship?
All guests are required to accept the terms and conditions in our guest ticket contract. In addition, guests will be required to agree to abide by all of the cruise line’s health and safety protocols and acknowledge the risks associated with COVID-19 during their voyage and shoreside experiences. Guests who fail to agree to these terms and conditions will not be permitted to board.
Will NCL offer testing onboard to meet travel requirements for guests flying back to countries that require negative COVID-19 test results to re-enter the country post cruise?
Yes, COVID-19 antigen or PCR tests prior to disembarkation will be administered on board and paid for by the Cruise Line for those guests who require a test to return home. If a PCR test is required for any travel home, the cruise line will administer and pay for a PCR test, only for those guests whose home country specifically requires a PCR test. The PCR test onboard for cruises from Europe will be administered by Eurorfins. The PCR test for US based sailings will be administered by Norwegian Cruise Line’s medical staff.
If a guest has any other travel plans after disembarking the ship, other than returning to their home country, the guest can still request a PCR test onboard, at a fee of $150 per person.
If a guest booked a post-cruise hotel for more than three nights, it is the responsibility of the guest to make their own arrangements to get re-tested at their own expense.
Will guests who are recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies still be required to be vaccinated?
Yes, all guests and crew will be required to be fully vaccinated even if they have antibodies from prior infections, regardless of the guest’s citizenship and their local government’s regulations. For details about what is considered to be fully vaccinated, refer to “What vaccines will be accepted?” question.
Our cruises will operate with 100% vaccination of guests and crew, therefore face coverings are not required.
On Europe sailings only, local government regulations requires all guests to wear masks onboard while indoors except for when actively eating or drinking or when in their stateroom. Guests will be required to wear masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
Face masks that have two or more layers that completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly on your face are permitted. Face masks should block light when held up to bright light source. Masks with exhalation valves or vents; single layer or masks made of thin fabric that don’t block light (i.e. neck gaiters) are not permitted.
How will you maintain physical distancing onboard?
We will initially control the guest capacity onboard each ship to provide even more space per guest.
Are there any onboard activities that will not be available?
Nearly all onboard venues and activities, including entertainment, spas and casinos, will still be available with some temporary modifications or changes to activities due to the current public health environment. While on board, guests will be guided through any additional health and safety protocols.
If I’m denied boarding at the pier or arrive late, can I board the ship at the next port?
No, due to enhanced health and safety measures we have put into place prior to embarkation we cannot accommodate guests joining the cruise once the sailing has commenced.
Guests will not be eligible for a refund or any type of compensation if they miss the ship’s departure.
Can I buy travel insurance through Norwegian Cruise Line?
Yes, we offer guests the option to purchase travel protection plans. In addition to a broad set of coverage benefits, our plans cover medical expenses for illnesses, including COVID-19.
Are there any restrictions on pre-existing health conditions or limitations for guests due to COVID-19?
No, we do not currently have any restrictions or limitations for guests with pre-existing health conditions. All guests should assess their individual risk level and consult with their doctor if needed prior to sailing.
Increased Sanitation, Upgraded Air Filtration, Enhanced Health Services
SAFETY ABOARD OUR SHIPS
Continuous Ship-Wide Cleaning & Disinfection Measures
Comprehensive enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols, using EPA approved disinfectants, have been implemented throughout the cruise experience.
Upgraded Medical-Grade Air Filters
We are strategically installing medical-grade air filters of the highest filtration grade, MERV 13 or HEPA, capable of removing 99.9% of airborne pathogens, including COVID-19, and implementing new bi-polar ionization technology.
Enhanced Onboard Medical Teams & Health Services
We have improved our onboard medical capabilities with additional staffing relative to capacity and enhanced facilities including new and upgraded equipment and onshore medical institution partnerships.
Dedicated Public Health Officer
All ships will sail with a dedicated Public Health Officer on board that will oversee the day-to-day sanitation and cleanliness of all public areas and accommodations.
Safety Aboard Our Ships Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I get sick while onboard?
Guests who have symptoms of COVID-19 while onboard should immediately contact the onboard medical center for further instruction. Complimentary onboard consultations and treatments are provided for respiratory illnesses as well as dedicated isolation accommodations should the need arise. Medical centers will be equipped to test for COVID-19 onboard and if a positive case is identified, contact tracing for that individual will begin immediately and occur at the same time as treatment.
We have also enhanced our onboard medical capabilities with additional staffing and enhanced facilities. This includes an increase in intensive care unit capacity, new and upgraded equipment, onshore medical institution partnerships, telemedicine capabilities and additional robust consultation and treatment options. Onboard medical centers are also abundantly stocked with common prescription medications, remedies, and virus-testing equipment as available.
What testing and treatment capabilities are there onboard?
We have improved our onboard medical capabilities with additional staffing directly related to sailing capacity, new and upgraded equipment and enhanced facilities.
All vessels will have COVID-19 testing capabilities on board and results onsite. We have increased intensive care units (ICU) capacity onboard and ICUs are equipped with infusion pumps, IV treatments, cardiac monitors, defibrillators, cardiac pacemakers and ventilators.
Should the need arise, we also have partnerships with onshore medical institutions in place to provide clinical advice and assistance as needed.
Vessels are equipped with an onboard laboratory, which can administer Complete Blood Counts (CBC), Blood Chemistry, Coagulation tests, and Influenza tests. Onboard medical centers are also abundantly stocked with common prescription medications and remedies.
Strategic Itinerary Development & Shore Partners
We constantly monitor the health environment across the globe and will modify or cancel itineraries to affected areas as needed.
Partners in Prevention
We’re partnering with our local destinations and tour operators to extend our comprehensive health & safety protocols to shore.
Beyond the Port
Guests are free to explore ports of call on their own, according to protocols in each specific port, and can purchase shore excursions as they wish. Face coverings may be required in certain settings to comply with local requirements, for example in terminals for embarkation and disembarkation or at ports of call. We will continue to monitor public health guidance, including from the CDC, at the time of your voyage and modify requirements accordingly.
*Due to local government regulations, guests are required to take a Norwegian Cruise Line shore excursion while visiting Colón, Panama and ports in Italy as guests will not be allowed to explore on their own.
Thorough & Effective Mobilization Plan in Event of Outbreak
MOBILIZATION & RESPONSE
If a positive case of COVID-19 occurs, we have various contact tracing methodologies to identify and notify those who may have been exposed.
Dedicated isolation and quarantine accommodations will be available if needed.
We have developed a thorough mobilization and response plan focused on collaborating with local authorities and coordinating safe passage home for all guests and crew should the need arise. We have also established relationships with onshore medical institutions and enhanced our telemedicine consultation capabilities.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Are these all of the health & safety protocols that will be implemented during my cruise?
We have developed a comprehensive and multi-layered set of health and safety protocols that span the entire cruise journey, guided by the expert advice from the Healthy Sail Panel and our Company’s SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council. We will continuously refine and improve these protocols as science, technology and our knowledge of the virus improve and will provide guests with all relevant information and any changes to protocols prior to setting sail.
Do I need to use the Norwegian Cruise Line App for new health and safety protocols?
We strongly encourage guests to download the Cruise Norwegian app. In addition to the variety of features and enhancements that will make the cruise journey seamless, guests will save time at the pier by completing the online check-in, which includes the Company’s new Health & Safety section which is required to be completed by all guests prior to sailing.
Guests can preview and book onboard activities, dining reservations, shore excursions and entertainment both before boarding and while on the ship. They can also review important trip details, access the day’s schedule, view Latitudes loyalty information, call and message guests including group chat*.
*Calling and messaging package has a nominal one-time fee for making unlimited onboard calls and messages during your cruise.
Can I explore on my own while in port?
As delivering the best experience for our guests is always a top priority, after working closely with our destination partners, we anticipate that guests will be free to explore certain ports of call on their own. Please keep in mind that this is largely dependent on the local health authorities and the evolving regulations, which are subject to change. In order to keep our guests as safe as possible, we highly recommend taking our company organized shore excursions as a more controlled environment for you to enjoy your time in each of the destinations.
As of August 2021, guests will be required to take a Norwegian Cruise Line organized shore excursion for ports in Italy as guests will not be allowed to explore on their own.
For additional information, please visit Cruise Travel Requirements by Country.
Will I be required to take a COVID test to disembark the vessel?
On US based vessels, Norwegian does not require a disembarkation test. However, this does not supersede home country requirements. For Europe based vessels, a disembarkation test is required and will be administered onboard and cost will be covered by Norwegian Cruise Line.
Will I be required to take a COVID-19 test in order to embark on the second leg of a back-to-back sailing?
Yes, guests will be required to take a COVID-19 antigen test and show a negative result before continuing on the second leg of a back to back sailing. The antigen test will be conducted onboard during the end of the first cruise.