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Credit: TUI/Shutterstock

Marella Cruises Covid restrictions: What rules are onboard? What you can & can't do

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Updated on:

Marella Cruises, the ocean cruise line of popular holiday brand TUI, is sailing once more but strict Covid measures remain in place which you need to be aware of.

Marella Cruises has introduced a raft of rules to ensure passengers and crew are safe.

Before heading off on a TUI cruise holiday it's important to know what life might be like onboard as it will certainly be different to any cruise you enjoyed pre-Covid.

Guests now need to factor in face masks and vaccines ahead of travel, not to mention be aware of social distancing and limited options on the ship.

Here we answer your burning questions about Marella Cruises right now.

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Do you need a Covid vaccine for a Marella cruise?

Yes, Marella guests need to be jabbed. "To sail on any of our cruises you must be fully vaccinated + 14 days if you’re aged 18 and over, and bring proof of this.

"Guests aged two to 17 can still sail but will need to have an antigen (rapid flow) test before boarding the ship."

- READ MORE: Compete guide to major cruise lines' vaccine policies -

Do you need a Covid test for a Marella cruise?

Yes, Marella requires passengers to undergo a health screening, including a Covid test.

"The pre-boarding health screening is divided into two stages – the first is an online health declaration, and the second is an antigen (lateral flow) test, which will be provided free of charge at the terminal before you board the ship," explains the TUI website.

"If you fail either of these pre-boarding health screenings, you won’t be able to board the ship."

Covid test
Marella requires passengers to undergo a health screening, including a Covid test. Credit: Shutterstock

Do you need travel insurance for a Marella cruise holiday?

Yes, passengers must bring proof of comprehensive cruise travel insurance.

- READ MORE: Do you need special travel insurance for a cruise? -

Do you need to wear a face mask on Marella Cruises?

Yes, face masks are required when sailing with Marella.

"Both guests aged 12 and over and crew will be required to wear a face covering when onboard unless they are inside their cabin, out on the open deck or sitting down, in line with social distancing guidelines regarding eating and drinking," details the cruise line.

"Your mask must be a purpose-made, disposable or reusable, face mask. 

"You must comply with this policy in order to travel, so if you’re exempt from wearing a mask, you won’t be able to travel." 

However, these rules could change in the future. Marella says on this: "We may ease restrictions around face coverings as and when guidance from the UK government and World Health Organisation (WHO) allows for this."

Marella restaurat
Marella: Face masks are required when sailing with Marella unless you're eating and drinking. Credit: Shutterstock

Do you need to social distance on a Marella cruise?

Yes, social distancing measures are in place, so "mixing with other guests will be limited," detailed TUI.

"You will only be able to mix with the people in your cabin, from the same household or travelling party during your cruise.

"If you have more than one household in your travelling party, the UK rule of six people from different households or two households will apply indoors."

Those travelling alone needn't worry about feeling ostracised, though. "For anyone travelling solo, we’ll arrange COVID-safe gatherings, which will be optional for all our solo travellers," said the brand. 

"There’ll be fewer guests onboard, to make social distancing easier. And there may be one-way systems in place, which will be clearly marked with signs to guide you around the ship."

Guests are also not allowed to be in their cabins at the same time as their stewards. 

- READ MORE: Three major mistakes to avoid making when cruising -

Is there a buffet on Marella cruise ships?

Yes, there is - but you won't be able to help yourself.

"The buffet will be assisted service, so our staff will help serve you food, as well as drinks," said Marella.

"It’ll also operate at a reduced capacity to aid social distancing."

Marella discovery
Social distancing measures are in place on Marella ships, so "mixing with other guests will be limited." Credit: TUI

Can you go on shore excursions alone with Marella Cruises?

Yes, Marella is now allowing guests to head off on their own during time at port, however, anyone unvaccinated can only leave on a Marella excursion.

"It's now possible for fully vaccinated guests to go ashore independently in some ports," says Marella in its latest advice.

- READ MORE: How to get the most out of your trips to shore -

"This will vary by port – some destinations may still require cruise line-organised shore excursions due to local restrictions or the ship’s schedule. We'll share that information once you're onboard.

"Unfortunately, anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated won’t be able to go ashore unless they’re on a Marella Cruises shore excursion. This means that the majority of guests aged 17 and under will need to be on one of our excursions to be able to head ashore."

Couple beach
Marella is now allowing guests to head off on their own during time at port. Credit: Shutterstock

What can't you do on Marella Cruises?

While ship pools are open, Marella guests won't be able to use them as pre-Covid as "pools will have a reduced capacity, and our sunbeds will be arranged so you can be socially distant while you sunbathe," says Marella.

You also won't be able to use cash as there is a cashless system onboard,

Travellers may not get exactly what they want when visiting the spa, and the system is a little different now. "There may be a limited treatment menu at the spa," explains the TUI brand. "Plus, you’ll be asked to change into your workout clothes before arriving at the gym, and change and shower in your cabin.  

- READ MORE: Top 10 tips for planning your first cruise getaway -

Anyone enjoying retail therapy won’t be able to try on clothing at the Broad Street shops.

You also won't be able to dive straight into your mini-bar with abandon, as Marella explains: "The contents of your minibar will be removed from your cabin, but they will still be available on request."

For those staying in suites, breakfast in bed is a little different - "breakfast in bed will only be delivered as far as your cabin door," says Marella.

Guests also won't be able to see the Captain and his crew in action on the Bridge. "While our COVID-19 safety measures are in place, we won’t be running any visits to the bridge – so any tours or celebration packages that include bridge visits won’t be available," detailed the cruise line.

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