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Cruise Travel

News as of June 15, 2021

  • The Government of Canada continues to advise against all non-essential travel to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Specifically, the Government of Canada continues to advise that all cruise ship travel outside Canada be avoided.
  • All Canadian cruise ship departures are currently not permitted by government until 2022.
  • These restrictions currently apply whether someone has been vaccinated or not. The federal government expects to begin easing general travel restrictions slowly, in phases, beginning in July but cruise restrictions may not be among the first to be eased.

 

Background

  • With mass vaccination programs across the country and around the globe, Canada is moving closer to travelling internationally once again, although cruise travel is unlikely to be among the first Canadian travel restrictions to lift.
  • This document is part of a series to assist CAA travel representatives in providing valuable information to Canadians as international borders begin to reopen and non-essential travel resumes. Other documents in this series include:
    • Travel to the US (car or plane)
    • Travel within Canada
    • Travelling outside Canada and the Unites states
    • Vaccine credentials
  • After nearly 15 months out of operation, some European and Caribbean cruise operators have recently begun to sail. Cruise liners in the US are expected to begin departures in July 2021 with new health and safety precautions and testing requirements in place.
  • Some countries have yet to recognize mixed vaccination doses from two different companies (i.e. Pfizer and Moderna). The federal government has stated that it will be working with other countries to have mixed dose vaccinations recognized as eligible for fully vaccinated status. In the meantime, Canadians who have received mixed doses should carefully check entry rules for any country they plan to travel to before booking travel.
  • All Canadian cruise ship departures remain prohibited however, the federal government announced yesterday that as of November 1, 2021, the prohibition of cruise ships in Canadian waters will end for operators that can fully comply with public health requirements. Specifically, the Government of Canada continues to advise that all cruise ship travel outside Canada be avoided, whether someone has been fully vaccinated or not. 

 

Key Messages

  • CAA supports the safe return of travel and is a trusted resource for travellers as they consider the decision to travel as rules change.
  • The Government of Canada continues to advise against non-essential travel due to COVID-19, including its recommendation to avoid all cruise travel outside Canada. People’s health and safety remains our top priority.
  • CAA recognizes, however, that a decision to travel is a personal choice. Those deciding to travel should avoid cruise travel and always refer to the latest information and guidance from Health Canada and Global Affairs Canada.
  • While some European and Caribbean cruises have restarted and US cruise ships are expected to begin setting sail in July 2021, Canadians should still be aware that the federal government advises against cruise travel outside Canada at this time.
  • Vaccine credentials: CAA recognizes that a national standardized digital document would help ensure Canadians who get vaccinated have an official means of proving they have been vaccinated as travel rules change.

 

Things to consider if you’re planning future cruise travel

  • The Government of Canada and the CDC recommend all travellers defer worldwide cruise ship travel, including river cruises, at this time.
  • However, capacity on cruise ships is expected to be limited in the coming years due to pent up demand. In fact, some cruises are sold out until 2023. Consider booking far in advance to secure your spot and you may also benefit from preferred rates. Many cruise companies are offering lenient change and cancellation policies.
  • Cruise lines have committed to a series of health and safety measures, including ongoing COVID-19 testing, social distancing, mandatory mask-wearing in public spaces, limiting on-board capacities, upgrades to ship ventilation systems, contact tracing through the use of technology and more. Some cruise ships are mandating that passengers be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to travel for anyone over the age of 12. Unvaccinated children under 12 may still travel with their parents after receiving a negative COVID test.
  • If you make the personal decision to take a cruise:
    • Check your destination's quarantine requirements. Also be sure to check quarantine requirements for your return to Canada. Visit here for details. Currently, unless you are fully vaccinated or an essential worker, you are required to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Canada. People who arrive by air must stay at a quarantine hotel for up to three days while awaiting their COVID arrival test result and if negative, may finish the remainder of their 14-day quarantine at home.
    • Consider consulting a knowledgeable Travel Professional. Expert advice is even more important during a pandemic. CAA’s Travel SMART certification program provides our CAA Trusted Travel Professionals with enhanced tools and knowledge specially designed for travel during the pandemic – so Canadians can trust the information they receive.
    • Understand the cruise operator’s cancellation policy and understand what you can expect on your cruise. Also know that those policies can change quickly with little notice. Some other things you should consider:
      • What sanitary precautions are in place pre-, during and post-sailing?
      • Are any amenities or activities not available during the cruise?
      • What dining options are available or different from what is typical?
      • Are any daily self-health assessments required?
      • Does the ship require a negative COVID test from everyone before boarding?
    • Do not board a cruise if you are sick, if you know you have COVID-19, or if you were exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • Travel/health insurance:
    • Consider Trip interruption and cancellation insurance when booking your trip. This may protect you should a situation arise after booking, and the Government of Canada issues bulletins to Avoid All Travel or Avoid Non-Essential travel at your destination.
    • Always check to ensure your travel insurance includes adequate medical coverage and be sure to know what the limitations and exclusions are. If there is a government advisory to Avoid Non-Essential or All Travel before you leave, and you still choose to go, then you may not be fully covered.
  • Insurance policies vary, so it’s important to review your policy, and understand what you’re covered for before you travel. If there is an advisory in place before you go, such as the federal government’s advisement to avoid all cruise travel outside Canada, you may learn your insurance is voided if you do take a cruise. Review your options in detail with your policy issuer.

 

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