Ashley Kosciolek

Mask-wearing returns on some cruises following COVID-19 outbreaks

Just when we thought the jaw ache was over, a handful of cruise lines reinstated mask-wearing on some ships following a series of onboard outbreaks.

On November 17, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line reactivated their mask policies for Coral Princess, Majestic Princess, Grand Princess, Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa, all based in Australia and New Zealand. Royal Caribbean International also now requires passengers to wear masks on Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas, which also sail downwards.

Both countries reopened to cruise ships earlier this year after a more than two-year shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A delayed wave of land-based outbreaks has meant lines are currently seeing higher numbers of cases on their ships in the region, necessitating the need for masks.

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“Due to an increase in community transmission of COVID-19 in Australia, and out of an abundance of caution, masks are required in all indoor environments on Australia and New Zealand cruises until further notice,” said Princess Cruises in a statement. “Princess continues to work with global health experts, responsibly adjusting health guidelines as necessary.”

Carnival and Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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In March, cruise lines began dropping their mask mandates for vaccinated passengers in other destinations, particularly North America, the Caribbean and Europe. Now, most lines have also waived masking requirements for unvaccinated cruisers, but say policies are subject to change based on local government requirements in ports ships visit.

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Image selected by Signage throughout the ship reminds Freedom of the Seas passengers to mask up when arriving from outside. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Dots Guy)

Editorial Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are those of the author alone, and not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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