Two major cruise lines have dropped their mask mandates from their COVID-19 protocols. Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have announced changes to their coronavirus protocols, despite the fact that the omicron-variant of COVID-19 has continued to surge throughout the country.

Royal Caribbean’s mask mandate will expire on February 14, 2022. They will return to their pre-omicron variant policy, where fully vaccinated passengers could go without any face coverings in areas specifically designated for fully-vaccinated passengers. These areas include bars, lounges, restaurants, casinos, and theaters.

Royal Caribbean’s website still instructs their passengers to wear masks when they are in any other indoor areas where unvaccinated passengers are also allowed, when they are not eating or drinking, as well as in crowded outdoor spaces and at any public ports in locations where local law requires people wear them.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that they will be updating their Sail Safe guidance policies to no longer require masking for passengers for departures as of March 1, 2022. For any sailings after February 28, Norwegian will leave whether passengers wear masks to their discretion. Norwegian does recommend that passengers continue to wear masks indoors, except when they are eating or drinking, or when they are outside and social distancing is not feasible. However, Norwegian will continue to require enforcing mask requirements for all European sailings based on local government rules.

Despite these looser mask policies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still maintain a Level 4 warning.. According to previous CDC sailing orders, if 95 percent of all passengers and crew members on the ship are vaccinated, cruise lines could relax their mask requirements. However, once omicron hit and breakthrough cases were reported despite vaccination, cruise lines, including Norwegian and Royal Caribbean made the decision to have passengers mask up again.

Norwegian requires guests to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered by a verified third party or a negative at-home test taken under medical supervision before boarding one of their vessels. They have also been administering free rapid COVID-19 antigen tests at the pier. However, they will stop covering the costs of these tests starting in March. Passengers can still take a test to provide proof of not having COVID-19, but the cost will be the passenger to bear.

Children under the age of five who are not vaccinated will still be able to board Norwegian vessels with a negative screen. However, guests who are five years and older will still need to provide proof of full vaccination to board. Norwegian has had one of the strictest vaccination policies among cruise lines.

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991.  We have fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety.  We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault, or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well-funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits.  You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement and pain and suffering.  Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free 1-866-597-4529, 305-441-0440, or by email. We are ready to help.