Princess Cruises is removing all of its Covid-19 procedures for most of its sailings beginning 21 October 2022.
According to the letter given to booked guests, there would no longer be a requirement to show a negative test result, whether fully vaccinated or not.
The only sailings where safeguards are still in place are those to places where local authorities require them—fantastic news for customers who want to sail from US and European homeports. Since Princess Cruises is a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise, this might suggest that also Carnival Cruise Lines could follow suit shortly.
Guests on Princess Cruises will no longer be required to produce a negative test result, regardless of vaccination status. On 6 September, the cruise company changed its rules, removing vaccinated customers’ requirement for test results. This has been revised to accommodate unvaccinated visitors.
The new guideline went into effect on 21 October. It will apply to all cruises travelling to and from locations where local laws do not deviate from harsher criteria.
This implies that all US and European sailings are covered. On the other hand, cruises departing from Australia and New Zealand are not. The local restrictions continue to apply for these voyages.
Princess Cruises is following in the footsteps of Norwegian Cruise Line, which imposed a similar restriction. Princess Cruises stated on its website and correspondence to onboard passengers, “It’s easier than ever to plan for your vacation.” All passengers, regardless of vaccination status, are welcome. Since 21 October, vaccination and testing requirements have been removed on most cruises.”
“This applies to all itineraries except where government restrictions may differ, such as Australia, and on a few voyages with their vaccine and testing requirements.”
The statement’s final section pertains to longer cruises, where the danger of a COVID-19 pandemic is higher.
In many respects, Princess Cruises’ departure is significant. To begin with, the cruise company made headlines in the mainstream media during the initial months of the pandemic, when multiple outbreaks occurred aboard Princess Cruises ships. Moving to a no-testing policy demonstrates a high level of trust in the capacity to keep everyone on board healthy and safe.
In addition, Princess Cruises is the first Carnival Corporation cruise line to have a far more lenient testing policy. Something that might lead to other cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Line, making a similar step.
Several customers have recently complained about Carnival Cruise Line’s testing policy. This was especially evident when Bermuda repealed all testing regulations, but Carnival maintained its testing practices.
Regardless of trip duration, visitors aged five and above must still provide the negative results of a PCR or antigen test done no earlier than three days before departing.
Royal Caribbean still requires testing only for visitors aged 12 and over.
The other cruise operators will scrutinise the adjustments made by Princess Cruises. Although testing standards are now far more eased than they were six months ago, they remain a barrier to people booking a trip. Particularly now that daily life appears to have returned to normal.