MSC Cruises Updates Pre-Cruise Testing Requirements For U.S. Ports

UPDATE, 8/8: MSC has walked back on the date it originally announced it would drop pre-cruise testing for voyages five nights or shorter. Instead of today, August 8, it will now drop the testing on August 29.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

MSC Cruises has announced an update to its health and safety protocols for voyages from United States ports, which is in line with recent changes from other cruise companies including Royal Caribbean Group and Carnival Cruise Line.

msc seascape aerial
(Image courtesy of MSC Cruises)

Starting Monday, August 8, fully vaccinated guests departing on cruises from U.S. ports that are five nights or less will no longer need to present a negative COVID-19 test to sail.

Fully vaccinated passengers sailing on cruises six nights or longer from U.S. ports must show proof of a negative COVID-19 NAAT or antigen test taken within three days of embarkation.

Unvaccinated guests two and older must show proof of a negative COVID-19 NAAT or antigen test taken within three days of embarkation. Currently, MSC Cruises still requires that all guests 12 and older are vaccinated, so this unvaccinated protocol applies to kids two to 11 years old.

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The cruise line does not require booster shots.

In the press release announcing the news, MSC said that it will “continue to monitor pandemic conditions and port requirements outside of the U.S., with a goal to relax testing and vaccination protocols to open cruising to all guests.”

msc seashore yacht club sundeck pool
The Yacht Club sundeck and pool on MSC Seashore (Photo courtesy of Ivan Sarfatti/MSC Cruises)

Last week, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Silversea all lifted pre-cruise testing on sailings five nights or shorter, except for in destinations that continue to require it.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Azamara, and Viking dropped testing for voyages of all lengths in select destinations, and Virgin Voyages and Margaritaville at Sea ditched testing for all of their cruises.

As a bit of a trial, Holland America Line and P&O Cruises got rid of their pre-cruise testing requirement for select sailings to Norway this summer.

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