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Will cruise ships require masks? Full list of major cruise lines' face mask rules

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Face masks have become a part of everyday life - but will they be required onboard cruise ships? This is your guide to the mask policy of all major cruise lines.

Cruise lines vary in their approach to face masks, with the majority requiring coverings to be worn in public areas.

Some companies are more relaxed, however. This is what you need to know.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival's policy states: "Vaccinated guests on a vaccinated cruise do not have to wear face masks (except in the medical center) or maintain physical distancing while on board.

As for un-jabbed guests, Carnival requires masks are worn in indoor public areas. "We recommend that all unvaccinated guests two years of age and older wear masks when indoors or not in their staterooms," states the cruise line.

"Masks will be required for unvaccinated guests in enclosed areas of the ship such as the piano bar, arcade, spa, salon, casino, Fun Shops and medical center. Additionally, masks are required at any indoor activity with children under 12 years."

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity says that fully vaccinated passengers are not required to wear masks inside or inside, with social distancing still in place. However, unvaccinated travellers will need to wear a mask, but not while seated for dinner, nor outdoors.

The company's advice states: "You'll find a welcome kit with a mask for each guest and hand sanitiser for your room. However, we encourage you to pack and wear your own face masks, as they are required in terminal and may be required onboard or ashore depending on your itinerary. Cloth masks will also be available for purchase onboard in the shops."

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Cunard

Cunard requires face masks indoors but not outside. It states: "Mandatory wearing of face masks with no exceptions will be required at the terminal, during shore experiences and at all times when indoors on board, except when having your identity checked at the gangway or while eating and drinking, inside your stateroom, using recreational water facilities, exercising in the gym and during certain treatments or services, such as facials.

"Face masks do not need to be worn outdoors except when social distancing cannot be maintained. We would always recommend you wash your mask daily and choose a good quality, ideally medical-grade, standard."

Fred. Olsen

Fred. Olsen's mask policy explains: All guests will have to wear a face mask when moving around inside the ship and where social distancing is not possible (we do ask for a mask, rather than a shield or covering).

"You will not need to wear a mask when you are out on deck or sitting down, for example when you’re enjoying something to eat or a drink in one of our new bars or lounges."

Holland America Line

Holland America Line's advice is: "Vaccinated guests on a vaccinated cruise do not have to wear face masks (except in the medical center) or maintain physical distancing while on board.

"All guests must wear masks during the entire embarkation and debarkation process (at the home port and at any port of call), during water shuttle operations and while on any shoreside transportation.

"Additionally, when going ashore, guests must be prepared to follow all local guidance regarding masks and physical distancing. The status of local guidelines will be shared with guests prior to debarkation at the destination."

- READ MORE: Vaccine, testing and entry requirements for holiday destinations -

Fred Olsen Bolette
Fred Olsen "expects masks will need to be worn in areas of the ship where social distancing is not possible." Credit: Fred. Olsen

MSC Cruises

MSC's face coverings rule is: "Face masks required when in public areas, except when seated in restaurants, bars, lounges, and when sitting on the sun deck."

Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL passengers will not have to wear as they all must be fully vaccinated. The line's advice states: "Face coverings are not required for cruises prior to 10/31/21.

"On Europe sailings only, local government regulations requires all guests to wear masks onboard whilst indoors except for when actively eating or drinking or when in their stateroom. Guests will be required to wear masks outdoors when social distancing is not possible."

P&O Cruises

Face masks will be required indoors but not outdoors. P&O Cruises' face mask policy explains: "Mandatory wearing of face masks, with no exceptions, will be required at the terminal, during shore experiences and at all times when indoors on board, except when having your identity checked at the gangway or while: eating and drinking; inside your cabin; using recreational water facilities; exercising in the gym and during certain treatments or services, such as facials.

"Face masks do not need to be worn outdoors except when social distancing cannot be maintained. Please note that visors and face shields will not be accepted as a substitute for a face mask."

- READ MORE: When will P&O Cruises resume? -

Couple masks
Cruise holidays: Cruise lines vary in their approach to face masks. Credit: Shutterstock

Princess Cruises

Princess states: "When physical distancing can’t be maintained, or when mandated by public health authorities, masks will be required on board, at private islands, and during shore excursions. Masks must be worn in terminals, during embarkation and disembarkation."

Royal Caribbean

Passengers are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors with a few exceptions. Royal Caribbean goes into depth about its policy on its website, detailing: "All guests and crew will be required to wear a mask onboard. Specifically, guests should wear face masks in nearly all public settings regardless of physical distancing measures but will not be required to wear face masks in their own stateroom.

"There are exceptions, however, such as dining venues, where guests can eat and drink without face masks while seated, provided physical distancing is observed.

"Also, guests should not wear masks while engaged in activities that may cause the mask to become wet, like when swimming in our pools, or when participating in strenuous activities, such as jogging, running, or fitness classes at the Vitality Spa and Fitness Center. Note that neck gaiters, open chin bandanas and scarves, and face masks with valves do not meet health authority guidelines and will not be permitted."

- READ MORE: Major cruise lines' vaccine policies explained -

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Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises explains: "Face masks may be required for all guests and crew while moving about the ship, depending on conditions at time of sailing."

Virgin Voyages

Virgin has a more flexible approach, with its policy clarifying: "For masks, we follow the same guidance as is recommended on land in accordance with the CDC and UK government — so if people are advised to wear masks there, we will do so at sea, as well."

- READ MORE: What you must do before travelling in 2021 -

NB. The above is correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change so do please check with your cruise line ahead of sailing.

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