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

Aug. 21, 2022
5 min read
Signage for mask requirements on Freedom of the Seas
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


Since the cruising resumed post-pandemic, I’ve been on more than a dozen sailings, and I have several more planned for the rest of 2022. At this point, 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 2022. It replaced the order with a now-defunct, color-coded, opt-in system that rated cruise lines based on the percentage of passengers for whom COVID-19 vaccinations were required. Now, however, the guidelines are merely recommendations, and most lines have rolled back their masking policies.

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The first to do so was Norwegian Cruise Line, which shocked the industry, given the line’s notoriously strict stance on pandemic protocols.

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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.

(Photo by Giacomo Augugliaro/Getty Images)

Azamara Cruises

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

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival no longer requires masks on its ships. Passengers are encouraged to wear them during embarkation and disembarkation, as well as in areas where there are large crowds. Masks may also be required when ashore, per local guidelines. Cruisers must wear masks in the onboard medical center.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity has made masks optional for all passengers, regardless of vaccination status. This policy may vary based on local port requirements.

Cunard Line

Cunard only requires cruisers to wear face masks that cover their noses and mouths when in the medical center, as well as when required by local regulations.

Disney Cruise Line

Face coverings on Disney Cruise Line are optional throughout the line’s ships. Guests who aren't vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks while on board. Masks are mandatory 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 should pay close attention to onboard signage, which indicatse where masks are necessary. Certain ports of call might require passengers to wear face coverings while they are ashore.

MSC Cruises

Masks are optional on MSC cruises, but the line recommends them for unvaccinated passengers. Face coverings might also be required in certain ports per local regulations.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian no longer requires passengers to wear masks on any of its voyages.

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 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. The line also recommends that unvaccinated children wear masks in all indoor areas, including the youth center. Masks could be 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, on transportation as part of line-sponsored excursions and in the medical center.

Silversea Cruises

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

Viking Cruises

For its ocean, river and expedition sailings, Viking has made face masks optional, but its ships' onboard medical teams can require passengers to put them on at any time if conditions warrant it. Face coverings could also be required in select destinations, based on local regulations.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages passengers are no longer required to wear masks on board the line’s ships. However, face coverings might be compulsory during embarkation, disembarkation and during port visits, per local rules.

Windstar Cruises

When sailing with Windstar, cruisers are no longer required to wear masks, but the line does encourage the practice. Face coverings might be required in some destinations.

Featured image by Signage throughout the ship reminds Freedom of the Seas passengers to mask up when coming in from outdoors. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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