Cruise ship vaccination rules for UK passengers on the high seas


People looking for a summer getaway after two years of lockdown and other coronavirus-related restrictions on our daily activities might consider taking the high seas for a cruise vacation. The sight of luxury liners is making a welcome return to UK ports as the industry recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vaccination rates in the UK are quite high, with almost 50 million Britons having received two shots and almost 40 million three shots, including a booster, according to government figures. As international travel continues to open up again, anyone hoping to go on a cruise might wonder if they need to be fully vaccinated.

While Covid restrictions have been lifted in the UK and are easing in many other countries, many cruise lines still have measures in place to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew. Many require travelers to have at least two shots to be classified as fully vaccinated, along with proof of vaccination. But the rules differ from company to company and country to country along the way.

READ MORE: Full list of cruise ships visiting Liverpool in 2022

Most companies require all passengers aged 18 and over to be vaccinated before boarding a ship. Many also require passengers to have received a reminder shot. Below is a breakdown of the vaccination requirements for some of the more popular cruise lines visiting UK shores.

Royal Caribbean International

All passengers aged 12 and over must show proof of vaccination before sailing on Royal Caribbean International ships. The cruise line‘s website states: “All Royal Caribbean passengers aged 12 and over must present proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 with the final dose administered at least 14 days prior to departure.

“Each guest’s diet must include at least two doses of vaccine, unless the guest has received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. No exceptions will be made.”

Travelers will need to provide official proof such as an NHS Covid-19 pass to show they have been framed. All vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) are accepted.

Your final dose in a two-dose (single dose for Johnson & Johnson) vaccination series should be no more than nine months before the date of travel. This however does not apply to anyone who received a booster shot. Some passengers will be required to take a Covid test before visiting certain ports.

Royal Caribbean will not accept a Certificate of Reinstatement in lieu of vaccination for guests of vaccinated age. All crew members are fully vaccinated, including their booster shots.

Virgin trips

Passengers over the age of 18 on Virgin Voyages cruise liners must be vaccinated. Advice on the company’s website states: “All of our sailors should be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Although we do not require the booster dose for our voyages at this time, please note that some ports we sail from may require that sailors be strengthened.”

MSC Cruises

Its website states: “All passengers aged 12 and over must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and all passengers aged 2 and over must test negative before boarding.” Passengers are also required to bring proof of a negative Covid test to the cruise terminal on the day of embarkation.

Travelers who show signs of Covid symptoms will not be allowed to board. They will also need to provide proof of a Covid-19 insurance policy prior to departure. Passengers are also advised to check details of travel requirements for each destination.


Viking cruises require all passengers to be fully immunized. the Company Website states: “Viking requires all passengers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days prior to travel.

“For added protection, we strongly recommend that customers who are eligible for a booster receive one before leaving.” He adds: “All crew members must be up to date with their vaccinations.

“This policy is aligned with current NHS guidance and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.” Viking also requires all customers to take a Covid test before departure.

Celebrity Cruises

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Celebrity Apex cruise ship docked in Liverpool

Celebrity Cruises requires all passengers eligible for vaccination to be fully vaccinated (two shots), with all doses administered at least 14 days prior to departure. As the age of eligibility in the UK for a vaccine is 12, all Britons aged 12 and over will need to be vaccinated.

The line’s website states: “To comply with this requirement, full vaccination documentation must be provided at the terminal as a condition of boarding. Covid-19 booster shots are currently not required to sail on Celebrity Cruises but are highly recommended to ensure a smoother holiday experience and to avoid additional tests and costs on board at your own expense throughout the sailing.”

Marella Cruises

Anyone aged 12 and over must be fully vaccinated to travel on an international cruise. All doses must be received at least 14 days prior to departure. If 270 days have passed since your second injection, a booster vaccination is necessary. Official proof of your vaccination status must be provided.

As an added measure, all customers over the age of 2 must take a quick speed test the day before their trip. It must be taken before checking in at a UK airport if you are departing to join a cruise ship in Europe.

Its website says: “You must prove your vaccination status by using the NHS app or by calling 119 for a hard copy. If you are from Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland you must check how to prove your vaccination status. We will also accept the official vaccination status letter from the healthcare provider who administered your vaccination.”

P&O Cruises

The cruise line website states: “All passengers aged 16 and over must be fully immunized with an approved Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to travel. If more than 270 days (calculated from the last day of the cruise) have elapsed Since the full completion of a vaccination course, a booster shot will also be required and should be given at least seven days before travelling.

Passengers between the ages of 12 and 15 must have received at least two injections at least 14 days before travel. A booster vaccine is not necessary. Persons aged 5-11 must either be fully vaccinated (two shots) at least 14 days before travel (a booster shot is not required) or provide two negative Covid-19 test results before departure. Guests under the age of five are exempt from vaccinations and pre-travel testing.

READ MORE: Celebrity Apex mega cruise ship with ‘magic carpet’ docks in Liverpool

Saga Cruises

All travelers must be fully immunized, including a booster shot, to join Saga cruise ships. The cruise line’s vaccination policy is described on his website.

It states that it is “mandatory for all passengers traveling on a Saga cruise to have been fully vaccinated using a Covid-19 vaccine approved by the UK Medical and Healthcare Regulatory Authority”. This includes a booster dose at least 14 days before your departure date.

Passengers will be required to present an NHS Covid Pass at check-in as proof of their vaccination status. Saga adds that guests will not be able to board a ship without this proof. The company will not accept travelers exempted from receiving a vaccine.

He said: “We have made the decision not to allow any guest to travel with us if for any reason they have not received the vaccine and a booster dose. The majority of our guests are from the tranche of age at risk and our priority is their safety and well-being. Therefore, to protect all of our passengers, we unfortunately would not be able to allow you to sail.”

Cunard Line

With Cunard’s Queen Victoria cruise liner due to sail to Liverpool on June 2, the company recently updated its Covid-19 policy. It asks customers aged 16 and over to be ‘fully vaccinated’ with two shots at least 14 days before travel. If more than 270 days have passed (calculated from the last day of the cruise) since the end of a vaccination course, a booster shot will also be required.

This must be given at least seven days before boarding. Passengers between the ages of 12 and 15 must also be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before their trip, but a booster shot is not necessary. The same goes for children aged five to 11, unless they can provide two negative Covid tests if they are not fully vaccinated.

Toddlers aged four and under are exempt from vaccinations and pre-travel testing. Passengers will be required to present valid proof of vaccination upon arrival at the cruise line terminal. For more details, visit the website at click here.

Fred Olsen Cruises

The line’s pre-cruise Covid protocols are described on the Fred Olsen Cruises website. All passengers aged 12 and over “must be vaccinated to join us on board”, he specifies. “This includes two original doses and a third booster dose. You must have received your booster at least seven days before your cruise departs.”

Customers will also need to provide official proof of their vaccination status, such as the NHS Covid Pass, when checking in. The cabinet adds: “If you are due to receive your second vaccination less than three months before the departure of your cruise, you do not need to have had a booster vaccination.”

Anyone who is exempt from getting vaccinated will not be allowed to travel with Fred Olsen Cruises. The firm said: “We are very sorry, but for your health and safety and that of our guests and crew on board, we require that all guests have received both doses of their vaccine before traveling with we.”


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