The Cruise ship Carnival Sunshine Underway


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.

It was only a matter of time: Cruise lines, which have been severely impacted by the pandemic, are slowly returning to business as usual, or at least "more usual," if these cruise lines are any indication. 

Carnival Cruise Line has become the third major cruise line to relax mask rules in the past two weeks. For Carnival sailings beginning on or after March 1, masks will be recommended, not required, though the cruise line does say there may be "certain venues and events where masks will be required."

Related: 12 Private Islands and Resorts Owned by Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean recently reverted to pre-omicron rules that allow vaccinated passengers to go without a mask in designated areas such as bars and casinos. Travelers are still asked to mask up in other indoor common areas when not eating or drinking, as well as to follow the mask rules of public ports. 

Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced several changes to its pandemic policies, including that passengers will also be able to skip face masks starting March 1. The news came just a month after Norwegian canceled several trips mid-cruise due to pandemic disruptions. Both Norwegian and Royal Caribbean warn that European cruises may be subject to different requirements. 

Related: The Worst Cruise Ship Horror Stories

Norwegian will also no longer require a pre-departure COVID-19 test at the pier. However, guests will still need to get their own test, at their own expense, no more than two days before the cruise if leaving from a U.S. port, or three days if leaving from a non-U.S. port. 

Carnival and Norwegian will also allow kids under the age of 5 to cruise unvaccinated. Royal Caribbean does not require vaccines for passengers 11 and younger.

Gallery: 15 Types of People Who Shouldn't Take a Cruise

Cheapism in the News