HomeTravelsCruise line ends pre-cruise testing requirement

Cruise line ends pre-cruise testing requirement

Viking Cruises has lifted its fleet-wide requirement for pre-cruise COVID-19 testing, making the luxury line the first cruise line to do so since sailings restarted in mid-2021.

However, not all passengers will be able to waive the pre-cruise test, but this is another encouraging step towards a return to pre-pandemic travel conditions.

Viking Cruises ends pre-cruise testing

In accordance with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decision to ending the pre-flight testing mandate for travelers entering the United StatesViking Cruises has also ended its mandate for fleet-wide pre-cruise trials effective June 10, 2022.

“Today, let’s celebrate the good news together”, Viking President Torstein Hagen said in a video announcement discussing the change. “Hope to see you back on board soon.”

However, this does not mean that all passengers can now sail without testing. In an update to their health and safety protocols, Viking explains:

“Viking strongly recommends, but no longer requires, a pre-departure COVID-19 test unless required by the destination. Effective June 10, 2022, certain ocean voyages on the Viking Orion and expedition voyages on the Viking Octantis in the United States and Canada will continue to require a COVID-19 test prior to departure.

Cruise ship trials

The cruise line is not yet listing destinations requiring pre-cruise testing, but is working to notify booked guests of updated protocols. The line’s vaccination mandates remain in effect for passengers and crew.

The cruise line is in the process of updating its website and related materials to reflect this change. All changes must be made by June 14, 2022.

Embedded Protocol Updates and Changes

Viking will continue to offer and require pre-cruise COVID-19 testing and on board its ships under certain circumstances. This includes “if a client reports symptoms, requests a test, or if our medical team deems it necessary.”

The cruise line continues to make the health and safety of its guests, crew members and the communities it visits a top priority for successful operations. For now, crew members will continue testing as needed and wear masks at all times.

“We are proud that since the resumption of Viking operations in May 2021, we have managed to prevent any outbreak of COVID on board our ships, thanks to our protocols”, viking states.

viking cruise ship
Photo credit: Ola Zawada / Shutterstock.com

As of this writing, only two Viking Cruises ships operate in U.S. waters and are therefore part of the CDC’s voluntary cruise ship program – viking orion and the new octanti viking.

viking orion currently offering 10-night one-way Alaska sailings between Seward, Alaska, and Vancouver, Canada. The vessel will remain in the Alaskan market until mid-September, when the vessel will reposition to Asia and the South Pacific, including Australia, for the Southern Hemisphere summer season.

octanti vikingone of the cruise line’s newest ships and the first of its purpose-built “expedition” ships, currently offers Great Lakes itineraries, sailing to multiple ports along the Great Lakes and in Canada . octanti viking was only delivered to the cruise line in December 2021and spent its inaugural season in Antarctica.

octanti viking
Photo Courtesy: Viking Cruises

Both viking orion and octanti viking are right now classified as “orange” by the CDCindicating that cases of COVID-19 have been detected on board and are being investigated.

Of the total 93 ships from all cruise lines involved in the CDC program, 85 are classified as orange, three as yellow (a few cases reported but not enough to trigger an investigation), and only five are classified as green (none COVID-19 cases).

No ships are classified as red, which would indicate a more serious outbreak requiring additional health protocols.

Will other lines follow?

While Viking’s decision is an encouraging step, it may not be as extensive as it seems, as many destinations will likely continue to require pre-trip testing. It is an encouraging indication, however, that more testing requirements may soon be removed, which would make travel plans much easier for many avid cruisers around the world.

So far, no other cruise lines have indicated any changes to pre-cruise testing, but Cruise Hive will continue to keep readers informed as different cruise lines adapt their protocols in these changing times.

viking cruise ship

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