Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Royal Caribbean International (RCL) are tightening their on-board mask protocols as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the globe.
Passengers on board Norwegian ships will now have to wear masks in all indoor spaces except when actively eating or drinking or when in their stateroom.
In a message to guests, Royal Caribbean said: “With the recent uptick of Covid-19 and added omicron variant concerns, we feel it prudent to temporarily tighten our onboard health protocols to require masks indoors at all times, unless actively eating or drinking. This new update also applies to vaccinated areas and venues.”
“Given the current health environment, we’ve updated our onboard health and safety protocols and requirements,” Christine Da Silva, senior vice president of branding and communication for Norwegian, said in a statement.
Both lines have recently had Covid outbreaks on board. Norwegian Breakaway reported 17 cases on a New Orleans-bound cruise, while 48 passengers tested positive on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas during a week-long cruise to Miami.
Putting protocols to the test
However, in both outbreaks the affected persons were either asymptomatic or displayed mild symptoms, and after following their respective Covid protocols both ships were allowed disembark those who tested positive without delay.
RCL reported that 95 per cent of the community on board were fully vaccinated, while 98 per cent of those who tested positive were also fully vaccinated.
NCL requires that all passengers and crew be vaccinated and last month extended the protocol indefinitely.