Cruise Lines Navigate Complex Rules as Alaska Voyages Resume

The first Alaska cruise of the season set off on Monday on a 7-night voyage as Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas. It’s a sight that the city of Seattle had not seen in a while, all due to a pandemic hiatus: vacationers wearing their extravagant Hawaiian shirts, bucket hats and sunglasses.

“We’ve been waiting for two years to travel to Alaska,” said 52-year-old Peter Dorney, one of the first people waiting to board the cruise ship on Monday morning with his wife, 51-year-old Cathy. The couple is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and Dorney stated they have been on more than 20 cruises. “We’re frequent cruisers.”

Monday’s resumption of cruises highlights the complexities of cruising in today’s current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are requesting cruise lines to decide whether they’ll require 95% of a ship’s passengers to be vaccinated, therefore qualifying as a “vaccinated cruise.” Depending on that decision, there are guidelines for social distancing, use of masks, and testing.

For a cruise line to be considered a “vaccinated cruise,” 95% of the passengers and crew members must be fully vaccinated 14 days before boarding. For those who have been fully vaccinated, they are not required to maintain social distancing or wear masks.

Most ships leaving the city of Seattle are pursuing the “vaccinated cruise” route. This includes the Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess and Carnival’s Miracle, among others.

Although the cruise ship industry has initiated again, it’s important to remember that cruise accidents and injuries are not uncommon. If you have been injured aboard a cruise ship, we suggest you obtain experienced legal counsel from our maritime injury attorneys at BoatLaw, LLP. With over 40 years of combined experienced, ACW&N is standing by to help.

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