Do I need to wear a mask on my cruise? A line-by-line guide

Apr 23, 2022

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Since the restart of the cruise industry, I’ve been on more than a dozen sailings, and I have several more planned for the rest of 2022. At this point, a mask feels like a permanent part of my facial anatomy. However, with restrictions easing, it can be difficult to know when you’re required to wear a mask on a cruise ship and when you’re not.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed its voluntary Conditional Sailing Order to expire in January. The order has been replaced by a new color-coded opt-in system that will rate cruise lines based on the percentage of passengers for whom COVID-19 vaccinations are required.

Because of the high inoculation rates on board, many lines are starting to roll back their mask mandates. The first to do so was Norwegian Cruise Line, which shocked the industry, given the line’s notoriously strict stance on pandemic protocols.

So, which cruise lines require masks? Here, you’ll find a line-by-line breakdown of whether masks are required on board and, if so, where and when.

Note: In mid-April, a federal judge in Florida struck down the CDC’s mask mandate for public transportation, but most cruise lines are still requiring passengers to mask up at the terminal during embarkation and disembarkation.

(Photo by Giacomo Augugliaro/Getty Images)

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In This Post

Azamara Cruises

Azamara no longer requires masks to be worn on its ships, although it still recommends them. The line also warns that masks could be required by ports of call their ships visit.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival no longer requires masks on its ships, except in select areas. Passengers must wear masks during the entire embarkation and debarkation process, while indoors during any Carnival-approved shore excursions and while on any transportation vehicles, including tenders. Masks may also be required when ashore, per local guidelines.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity has made masks optional for vaccinated passengers. Unvaccinated cruisers must wear masks indoors except while eating or drinking or when they’re in their own cabins. This policy may vary based on local port requirements.

Cunard Line

Cunard only requires cruisers to wear face masks that cover their nose and mouth when in the theater or medical center, as well as during embarkation and disembarkation or when required by local regulations.

Disney Cruise Line

Face coverings on Disney Cruise Line are optional throughout the line’s ships. Guests between the ages of 2 and 5 who are unable to be vaccinated must wear masks in designated youth areas, as well as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Vaccinated passengers are not required to wear masks, except on motorcoach transportation, at the cruise terminal and in select ports where it’s required by local protocols.

Holland America Line

(Photo by Chalabala/Getty Images)

Masks are optional but encouraged in most areas on Holland America Line‘s ships. Cruisers are advised to pay close attention to onboard signage, which will indicate where masks need to be worn. Certain ports of call might require passengers to wear face coverings while they are ashore.

MSC Cruises

Effective April 23, masks will be optional on MSC cruises. The only exceptions are unvaccinated passengers (children between the ages of 2 and 5) in indoor areas on board and all passengers at the cruise terminal when embarking or disembarking. Until then, masks are required in indoor areas for all passengers.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian no longer requires passengers to wear masks on board for non-Europe sailings. Mask wearing is encouraged when social distancing cannot be maintained, but it is not required. On Europe sailings, travelers will still be required to wear masks while indoors.

Oceania Cruises

Passengers on Oceania sailings are not required to wear masks, but they are strongly encouraged to do so. These regulations may change based on local port requirements.

Princess Cruises

Princess no longer requires wearing masks on board. Guests may be required to wear masks in some onboard venues; in these cases, Princess will have signage pointing out the requirement.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

(Photo by Increativemedia/Getty Images)

Passengers on Regent voyages no longer need to wear masks, but they will be strongly encouraged to do so. The policy is subject to change based on local port requirements.

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean has dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated passengers. Unvaccinated children older than 2 must wear masks in all indoor areas, including the youth center. The line has also done away with is separate areas for vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers. Masks are required at the terminal when embarking and disembarking the ship, as well as in ports where local regulations require it.

Seabourn Cruises

Seabourn cruisers are not required to wear masks, but they are encouraged to do so in areas where crowds congregate. Passengers must wear masks during embarkation and disembarkation, as well as on transportation as part of line-sponsored excursions. Masks are still required on board Seabourn Encore.

Silversea Cruises

Passengers on Silversea cruises are only required to wear masks in the casino, in the theater and during muster drills. Otherwise, they are optional on board but strongly encouraged.

Viking Cruises

For its ocean, river and expedition sailings, Viking follows local requirements. With that in mind, mask policies may vary from itinerary to itinerary. In general, when masks are required, they must be worn in indoor public areas. They are not required in cabins, when outdoors or when eating or drinking.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages passengers are no longer required to wear masks on board the line’s ships.

Windstar Cruises

When sailing with Windstar in the Caribbean, cruisers are no longer required to wear masks. Face coverings may be required in some destinations, such as French Polynesia.

Featured photo courtesy of Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy.

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