Norwegian Cruise Line lifts requirements for Covid-19 testing, masks and vaccines

The Norwegian Gateway cruise ship departs the Port of Manhattan at sunset in New York, USA on April 10, 2022.

Typhoon Coshkun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

On Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it was suspending all Covid-19 testing, mask-wearing and vaccination requirements.

The change takes effect Tuesday, the company said in a statement.

Norwegian is the first major cruise line to remove testing requirements for unvaccinated passengers. Passengers are still subject to local travel requirements set by each country.

“Many travelers are patiently waiting to take their long-awaited vacation at sea and we can’t wait to celebrate their return,” said Harry Sommer, President and CEO of a statement.

Norwegian ships reported 65% utilization in the second quarter, up from 48% in the previous quarter.

In July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended its voluntary Covid-19 program for cruise ships. Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean have since relaxed their requirements, but still require proof of a negative test from unvaccinated passengers.

Shares in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings fell about 1% on Friday morning.

Cruise lines continue to struggle despite easing Covid-19 rules for passengers. Inflation continues to squeeze consumer budgets, and rising costs cut cruise profits. Last week, Carnival’s share price fell below its April 2020 pandemic low after a dismal earnings report.

Cruise lines have also taken on billions of dollars of debt during the lockdown, and some investors fear payouts will skyrocket as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.

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