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Safer cruise vacations

Safer cruise vacations
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Can you protect yourself from covid on a cruise ship?

The world of travel is opening up again and that includes cruise liners. Cruise vacations are a great way to relax and see the world, but now that we are living with covid-19, there are some considerations to be aware of when booking your berth.

Is it medically safe for me to go on a cruise?

Infectious diseases, such as covid, can spread rapidly on board cruise ships. If you are at high risk of getting seriously ill from covid, take some time to assess the risks of cruise travel before you book. You may want to discuss it with your healthcare team.

Will passengers on board a cruise ship wear masks?

People’s tolerance for mask wearing varies and it is likely that on a cruise you will spend time around people who differ in their attitudes to masks.

Check what your cruise line’s mask guidance is when you are booking, and remember that it may vary depending on the port you are departing from. Ask yourself if you are comfortable with the expected level of mask wearing. Some cruises require passengers to wear masks all the time; others have made them optional for vaccinated passengers. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How would I feel about being around people who aren’t masked?
  • Would I feel comfortable wearing a mask all the time?

Get your pre-cruise shots

If you plan to go on port excursions during your cruise, you risk exposure to any diseases that are endemic there. Some of these, like hepatitis A, are easily picked up while eating out on shore and can cause unpleasant symptoms that could spoil the rest of your holiday. You can reduce your risk of catching hepatitis A or meningococcal meningitis by getting vaccinated. When you come for your pre-travel risk assessment with Canadian Travel Clinics, bring the itinerary for your cruise so that the health adviser can check what pathogens you are likely to encounter. They will recommend vaccines and give advice on avoiding exposure.

Do you need a covid test before your cruise?

At time of writing, to board cruise ships that depart from Canada, you will need proof of a negative pre-departure covid 19 test result. This has to be professionally administered or observed. If it is a rapid antigen test (RAT) then it must be taken no more than two days before your scheduled cruise ship boarding. You can also use a negative result from a molecular test that was taken no more than 72 hours ahead of your boarding.

If you’ve recently recovered from covid-19 then you can supply proof of a positive molecular test result taken at least ten days ago and no more than 180 days ago. You should also be free from symptoms.

For cruises not departing from Canadian ports, the rules around covid testing vary. Ask your cruise line whether or not you need to get tested before departure. Cruise lines are continually evaluating and updating their covid protocols. Most travel companies will tell you what you have to do about getting tested before departure.

Getting to your port of departure

When you fly or take a train to your port of departure you will need to provide proof of vaccination. If you are not vaccinated but have a valid exemption, you can provide proof of a negative result taken no more than one day before your trip.

Where can I get a pre-cruise covid test?

There are many places to get tested for covid-19, including some drive-thru covid test centres. Canadian Travel Clinics offers professionally administered and observed covid-19 testing with proof of result for travellers in towns and cities across Canada. To book a pre-travel covid test for your vacation, see our clinics page. We can also offer a video-supervised rapid antigen covid test, too. This may be useful if you live in a remote area, or if you need a professionally observed covid test for your return.

Where can I learn more about safe cruise ship travel?

To find out more about avoiding covid while on a cruise, see The Canadian Government’s page on covid-19: cruise ship travel.