A Look at the COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Policies For EVERY Major Cruise Line

The cruise line industry has certainly been put through the wringer since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disney Wish docked at Castaway Cay

Carriers have had to completely transform their operating procedures to follow international health and safety guidelines, including requiring passengers to be vaccinated, test negative for the virus before boarding, or both. With a few major cruise lines out there, you might be wondering which one has COVID policies that work for you. We’ve done the heavy lifting and are bringing you an overview of the COVID-19 policies for each major cruise line!

When it comes to choosing which cruise line you’re going to sail with, there are even more factors to consider these days than what we’ve seen in the past. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ended their COVID-19 cruise monitoring program, effectively eliminating any sort of vaccination or testing requirement. It’s up to each cruise line to make that call, so we’re sharing an overview of each major cruise line’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing policies.

Castaway Cay

Disney Cruise Line

Let’s start with the Disney Cruise Line since it’s the one we have recent personal experience with! We were on the first sailing of Disney’s newest ship — the Wish — and got to go through the COVID-19 testing process ourselves. The current Disney Cruise Line COVID-19 policy states that all vaccine-eligible guests (ages 5 and older) must be fully vaccinated before boarding a Disney cruise ship, and all guests (regardless of vaccination status) must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test at the cruise terminal.

Disney Wish boarding process

You can take a test at home before heading to the terminal, but Disney also has a testing site there as well. Either way, you’ll have to pay for the test. If you choose to test at home, once you have your negative COVID-19 test result, you must upload it to your Safe Passage account by midnight before embarkation day.

Boarding the Disney Wish

Safe Passage is a website where guests can upload proof of vaccination, and all guests who are vaccine eligible will have to upload their results.

Click Here to Read Everything You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Line COVID Testing Procedures


If you’re thinking about heading out on a Carnival Cruise, there are some health and safety guidelines you’ll still have to follow in order to set sail. Vaccinated guests are not required to take a COVID-19 test prior to boarding on cruises that re five days or less. It will still require pre-cruise testing for sailings that are longer than six nights, but this can be done within three days of departure.


Carnival is no longer providing any testing at the terminal for unvaccinated guests, and all of those unvaccinated guests ages 2 and older must provide proof of a negative result for either a lab-administered or supervised self-administered antigen COVID test within three days of boarding.


Additionally, guests must present an original vaccination record issued by the country’s health authority (i.e., U.S. CDC’s Vaccination Record Card). A digital COVID-19 Certificate, a record of COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare provider, and a personal electronic health record or government Immunization Information System record are also acceptable. They must be the original documents though, as copies will not be accepted.

Royal Caribbean

For any Royal Caribbean cruise, you might have in your future, you should note that all Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older must present proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose administered at least 14 days before sailing. Kids ages 11 and under do not need to be vaccinated to cruise.

©Royal Caribbean

But, Royal Caribbean has just updated its policy and will no longer require vaccinated guests to be tested for COVID-19 before boarding cruises that are less than 6 nights. The cruise line will still require tests for unvaccinated guests on all voyages, and for vaccinated guests on voyages 6 nights or longer. This policy will go into effect beginning August 8th, 2022.

Click Here to Read More About the Royal Caribbean Policy Update


Norwegian Cruise Line is still requiring that all guests age twelve and over must be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to departure in order to board. According to the cruise line, it is the responsibility of the guest to be aware of any local protocols and/or travel restrictions in place at the visiting destinations at the time of sailing.

©Norwegian Cruise Lines

Additionally, all vaccinated guests ages 12 and older, must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within 2 days of the embarkation date for cruises originating in a U.S. or Canadian port and within 3 days of the embarkation date for cruises originating from any other ports.

©Norwegian Cruise Lines

It’s also important to note that individuals that test positive within 90 days of their scheduled embarkation date are exempted from the pre-arrival testing, but will need to provide a COVID-19 Recovery document from a licensed healthcare provider.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages was the first major cruise line to remove its COVID-19 testing requirements following the CDC’s termination of the cruise program. It was announced that Virgin Voyages would be removing the requirement that passengers submit a COVID-19 test before boarding.

©Virgin Voyages

It’s important to note, though, that Virgin requires 90% of sailors on their cruises to be fully vaccinated, though there are a limited number of spots reserved for unvaccinated guests. Unlike Royal Caribbean’s new policy, Virgin Voyages will not require unvaccinated guests to take a COVID-19 test before boarding.

Click Here to Learn More About the Virgin Voyages Policy Update

Keep in mind that this information is subject to change, and chances are checking your respective cruise line’s website will have the most accurate and up-to-date information. We’re always looking out for the latest travel news that could impact your plans, so be sure to stay tuned to DFB for more!

Mickey and Minnie at Pirate Night on the Disney Wish!

Thinking about booking a Disney cruise? The itineraries have been announced for 2023, and you can read more about that here. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live on a cruise ship for six months, we’ve got all that info for you right here too!

Click here to read the latest CDC cruise update, and check out everything you need to know about the Disney Wish here!


Have you been on a cruise since the pandemic started? Let us know in the comments!

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