Norwegian Cruise Line ends all Covid 19 testing masking and vaccination

Norwegian Cruise Line ends all Covid-19 testing, masking and vaccination requirements

A Norwegian Gateway cruise ship departs Manhattan Harbor during sunset in New York City, the United States, on April 10, 2022.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Norwegian Cruise Line announced Monday that it is suspending all Covid-19 testing, masking and vaccination requirements.

The change will take effect on Tuesday, the company said.

Norwegian is the first of major cruise lines to end its testing requirements for unvaccinated passengers. However, passengers are still subject to the local travel regulations set by each country.

“Many travelers have patiently awaited their long-awaited vacation at sea, and we can’t wait to celebrate their return,” said Harry Sommer, Norwegian’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended its voluntary Covid-19 cruise ship program in July. Since then, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean have simplified their requirements, but continue to require proof of a negative test from unvaccinated passengers.

Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings are down about 1% on Friday morning.

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

Cruise lines have also taken on billions of dollars in debt during the pandemic lockdown, and some investors fear payments will skyrocket if the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates.