Norwegian Cruise Line drops COVID-19 testing requirement for select voyages

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Norwegian Cruise Line announced Wednesday that it will no longer require passengers to complete a COVID-19 test prior to sailing, becoming the first major cruise company to drop its testing requirement.

The relaxed policy will go into effect beginning Aug. 1 for all Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises voyages, unless required by local regulations.

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“The relaxation of the testing policy is in line with the rest of the travel, leisure and hospitality industry worldwide as society continues to adapt and return to a state of normalcy,” the company said in a statement.

Testing requirements will still be required for passengers departing from certain destinations, including the United States, Canada, Greece, and Bermuda.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires preembarkment testing for 94 ships voluntarily participating in its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, including Norwegian Cruise Line. “Gray” designated ships by the CDC have chosen not to participate in the program and may have health and safety protocols that the CDC has not reviewed or confirmed, according to its website.

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Norwegian Cruise Line said its policies will evolve in line with the public health environment.

The change comes as the cruise ship industry rebounds after suspending scores of cruises during the coronavirus pandemic.