What You Need to Know Cruising Post Pandemic
You are trying to decide what your vacation options are now that the world is reopening and you have landed on a cruise. Cruising will allow you to see multiple destinations and have an all-inclusive luxury experience on a budget. Now you just have to figure out the new protocols in place. Here is what I know based on what is required to cruise as of (June 3, 2022).
If you are over the age of 12, you must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to boarding your cruise ship. Fully vaccinated is defined as having 2 doses of an FDA-approved vaccine. Also, if you received the final does of your vaccine more than 120 days prior to your sale date, you may be required to get a booster. Booster requirements may vary based on the location you are traveling to. Rickey and I were required to get a booster for our cruise that ported in Greece, Israel, Turkey and Cyprus.
Children 2-12 years old do not have to be vaccinated, but they will be required to take a Covid test prior to boarding. All adults will also be required to take multiple covid test prior to boarding. For our international cruise, we were required to present a negative PCR test and rapid antigen test that had been taken within 72- 48 hours of our sale date. Upon arrival at the port we were required to take another rapid test before we were allowed onto the boat. If you are keeping count, that is 3 tests so far to board the ship. While on the ship, upon arrival in Israel, everyone onboard was required to take another rapid test before we could get off the boat. Even if someone was not planning to disembark at the Israeli port, they had to take the test. Once we got back to the airport to return to the states, we had to take another rapid test to board our flight. If you were keeping track, that is 5 negative test results that had to be shown to take this trip.
I am not complaining because I know cruise lines are simply doing what they need to do to stay in business and try to keep cruisers safe with the information they have. I am just making sure you know what you are signing up for. If you are traveling on a domestic cruise, you can cut down the number of tests to about 3. You will still need a negative PCR and rapid test taken 48 hours prior to boarding and will need to take another rapid test at the cruise port before getting on the ship. You are also still required to be fully vaccinated if you are over the age of 12.
What is included? You will have to pay out of pocket or go through your insurance for the test taken prior to arriving at the cruise port. Once you get to the port, a rapid test will be covered by the cruise. If you are required to take a PCR test that will run you about $125 per person! To avoid these additional fees, call your cruise line to get clear information on what testing is required to get on the ship. If you need to take a rapid test to return home by flight, the cruise will have one delivered to your room that you can take for free. Unfortunately, Rickey and I ended up paying for our test to return home at the airport, which was approximately $60 per person.
So you hear all of this, and ask yourself, is it worth it..All trips require some level of preparation and apart from the mid trip testing because of how strict Israel is, once we were on the boat, we were good to go. They do "require" you to wear a mask when in the indoor common areas, but they were not super strict unless you were at the guest services desk or upon entering a dining area. Once you were seated at your table or if you had a drink in your hand as you walked around the ship, no one required you to put on a mask. Also, you do not have to wear a mask while on the pool deck.
What happens if you test positive? I honestly have no idea. I think if it is prior to boarding you will not be allowed on the boat. If you test positive while on the ship, I believe they have an area where you can quarantine. I would check with your cruise line specifically to find out. Would I go through the process again? Well, I already booked my next cruise, so 100% YES LOL!