A Norwegian Gateway cruise ship leaves from the Manhattan port during sunset in New York City, United States on April 10, 2022.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Norwegian Cruise Line announced Monday that it will suspend all Covid-19 testing, masking and vaccination requirements.
The change goes into effect Tuesday, the company said.
Norwegian is the first of the major cruise lines to end its testing requirements for unvaccinated passengers. Passengers are still subject to the local travel requirements set by each country.
“Many travelers have been patiently waiting to take their long-awaited vacation at sea and we cannot wait to celebrate their return,” said Harry Sommer, Norwegian’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement.
Norwegian’s ships reported an occupancy rate of 65% for its second quarter, up from 48% in the prior quarter.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended its voluntary Covid-19 program for cruise ships in July. Since then, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean simplified their requirements, but still require proof of a negative test from unvaccinated passengers.
Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings were down around 1% Friday morning.
Cruise lines have continued to struggle despite easing Covid-19 rules for passengers. Inflation continues to squeeze consumers’ budgets and rising costs are cutting into cruises’ bottom lines. Last week, Carnival’s share price fell below its April 2020 pandemic low following a bleak earnings report.
Cruise companies also took on billions of dollars of debt during pandemic lockdowns, and some investors worry the payments will balloon as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates.