Three of the world's largest cruise shipping companies are implementing stricter onboard mask-wearing policies as COVID cases continue to spike across the USA amid the spread of the Omicron variant.
Passengers aboard CCL-Carnival Cruise Line, NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line, and RCI-Royal Caribbean's fleets are required to mask up unless they are drinking, eating, in their own cabins, or in an uncrowded open-air section of the cruise ship, the lines announced on their websites.
The CCL's and NCL's policies will remain in effect through January 2022. RCI's protocols apply through January 5, 2022.
In a memo sent to passengers last week, RCI said that with the recent uptick of COVID in the world and added concerns about the Omicron variant, they felt it prudent to temporarily tighten their onboard health protocols.
The update comes as liners are facing a resurgence in COVID outbreaks. On Saturday, 48 on Symphony OTS tested COVID-positive. According to RCI, which has a vaccine mandate, 95% onboard the ship and 98% of the positive had been vaccinated.
Like RCI, in early December NCL faced a virus outbreak on Norwegian Breakaway. At least 17 guests tested COVID-positive, and at least one was infected by Omicron. NCL is also operating with a vaccine mandate.