Is booster vaccination mandatory for cruises?  


Source: Pixabay/susannp4

Is booster vaccination mandatory for cruises?

Is a booster vaccination mandatory for cruises in Europe, or is the basic vaccination enough to get on board? A specifically defined booster obligation is rather rare for cruise lines. What many overlook, however, is this: The standardized QR code in the EU for proof of complete vaccination is only valid up to 270 days after the basic vaccination.

Basically applies: According to the EU, a person is considered fully vaccinated if his or her last dose of the basic vaccination was no longer than 270 days ago. After this period, a booster is necessary so that the QR code in the Covpass App continues to indicate full vaccination protection. The vaccination rules apply to all persons with an age of twelve years and older. After booster vaccination, the QR code is currently valid indefinitely.
An exception applies only in Italy, but this applies exclusively to Italian citizens: For them, the vaccination protection after the basic vaccination already expires after 180 days. But the vaccination protection from non Italian citizens expires only after 270 days.

The U.S: Centers of Disease Control (CDC) describes all persons with basic vaccination as “fully vaccinated”. However, 270 days after the basic vaccination, this no longer corresponds to the European definition of “fully vaccinated”. The CDC also uses the term “up to date”, which currently means that the person is boostered – but may require further vaccinations in the future, if the CDC changes its recommendations. For Europeans, the CDC definition is relevant as U.S. cruises often use these terms.

For cruises in Europe the following applies: For shore leave or embarkation in many countries a complete vaccination protection in the sense of the EU definition or a basic vaccination with a current negative test is necessary. Therefore, some shipping companies require the booster vaccination 270 days after the basic vaccination for participation in the cruises in Europe. For example, TUI Cruises, AIDA, Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Other shipping companies also take people without booster vaccination and offer onboard testing facilities for a fee. This can cost between $55 and $99 and may be necessary to do at multiple ports.
In view of the binding EU rules, one should not be confused by headlines such as "TUI Cruises abolishes booster obligation". In fact, TUI Cruises had a stricter booster obligation from February 23 to early April 2022, namely as early as three months after the basic vaccination. This has now been dropped. However, TUI Cruises still requires a complete vaccination as defined by the EU rules, i.e. boosters no later than 270 days after the basic vaccination.

All shipping companies recommend getting boosted in time. It is important to note that the cut-off date for mandatory vaccination is not the start of the trip, but its end.
For passengers not boosted after 270 days, the risk remains with shipping companies that individual countries will change their rules and possibly not allow passengers not fully vaccinated in the sense of the EU ashore at all.

Go back