By Published On: 7 Jul 2022

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As European health authorities report rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will drop pre-departure testing.

From 1 August 2022 guests will no longer need to produce a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding a Regent Seven Seas Cruises voyage.

In a statement released today the cruise line’s president, Jason Montague, said the change to their pre-cruise COVID-19 testing policy was in line with the broader global travel industry.

Indeed, airline passengers no longer need pre-departure testing in many countries, most notably the United States. Other countries like Australia no longer require proof of vaccination for entry. That’s despite concerns over sharply rising case numbers there.

However, it’s worth noting that some destinations still mandate pre-cruise COVID-19 testing. These include certain voyages that begin in Canada, Greece and the United States.

The announcement from Regent Seven Seas Cruises has seen a mixed response from online followers.

Twitter screenshot, comment from Erin Jackson.
Instagram screenshot, comment from sometimessailing about Regent dropping pre-departure COVID tests.
Instagram screenshot, comment from maidinbritain about Regent dropping pre-departure COVID tests.
Instagram screenshot, comment from larry.winter.travelphotography about Regent dropping pre-departure COVID tests.

It is yet to be seen whether other luxury cruise lines will follow the lead of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and also remove pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements.

Mask wearing

The Sailsafe™ Health and Safety Program from Regent Seven Seas Cruises makes no mention of mask wearing on board.

Indeed, looking more broadly across the industry mask mandates seem to be assessed on a voyage by voyage basis.

I have sailed three different voyages on three different cruise lines in the last six weeks and discovered mask wearing rules vary significantly. Some rules have even changed mid-voyage.

Generally speaking, most cruise lines recommend mask wearing in public spaces indoors. However, just a handful of COVID-19 cases on board can result in a snap back to mask mandates.

During one of my recent voyages a visit to a port of call with high case numbers resulted in a change from ‘masks recommended’ to ‘masks mandated’.

Are there still COVID-19 cases on cruise ships?

In short the answer is, yes. In fact, during another of my recent voyages masks were mandatory for all crew and guests after a small outbreak of positive cases on board.

COVID-19 case numbers on vessels departing US ports can be seen at the Centre for Disease Control‘s website.

Is isolation still required?

Most cruise lines still require COVID-19 positive crew and guests to isolate. Indeed, Regent Sevens Seas Cruise have ‘dedicated isolation accommodations should the need arise’.

Many cruise ships have a designated isolation zone. The accommodations in some of these zones even have negative pressure air conditioning to ensure the airflow does not enter the corridors.

Is COVID testing gone for good?

No doubt many guests will appreciate not having to take pre-departure COVID-19 tests for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. However, public health experts warn the pandemic is not over, so testing requirements may not be entirely behind us.

About the Author: Jason Kerr

Jason is the founder and Managing Editor of The Luxury Cruise Review. He has a passion for travel, a weakness for espresso coffee and a love of Greek cuisine.

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