Deck of a cruise ship. (photo via LeeYiuTung / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
As you would expect, the cruise industry applauded the end of the COVID test requirement to enter the U.S. from abroad. The move will minimize fears of being stuck in quarantine overseas and could help boost cruise bookings.
“This is a tremendous development that allows our guests to travel more easily and without stress throughout Europe as well as experience our Alaskan cruises that conclude in a Canadian port,” said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises.
Carnival Corp. sent out a statement when the news first began circulating.
“There have been several news reports that the U.S. government will announce today that it is lifting the pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirement for in-bound air travelers to the U.S., effective this Sunday, June 12,” the company said. “If the news reports are accurate, this is welcome news, a very positive step that will greatly stimulate and encourage much more willingness for international travel. In turn, that will have a highly positive impact on our cruises, as U.S. travelers will feel much more comfortable booking European cruises, knowing there are no longer burdensome test requirements. The same is true for European travelers booking cruises departing from the U.S. This potential development continues to build on our momentum as a company and industry, with millions of travelers once again enjoying our cruise vacations.”
Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn, called the news “positive.”
“This change will give travelers more confidence to make plans to travel to worldwide destinations, and more importantly, our U.S. guests will have peace of mind knowing they will be able to return home without having to undergo testing requirements. In addition, our international guests will also have less stress when they book voyages departing from the U.S.
“Seabourn will continue to operate vaccinated voyages to create a safe and healthy environment for our guests, team members, and the communities we visit. We also continue to offer our Worry-Free Promise, providing flexibility and additional peace of mind for travel.”
Ellen Bettridge, president and CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, said, “Since the start of the pandemic, our U.S. customers expressed that the testing requirement for re-entry is the number-one thing holding them back from traveling internationally, and we’re thrilled that this barrier has been lifted.”
Cruise Planners Luxury Travel Specialist Valerie Dorsey was at a luncheon with various business owners, and they were thrilled when she let them know about the update.
“This will allow those clients who hesitated to book Europe because they were afraid of being ‘stuck’, the ability to book now,” she said. “It was stressful having to have that done within 24 hours of returning to the USA, so am double grateful that everyone can relax more and travel safely.”
What’s more, a number of cruise lines are offering attractive fares for this summer and fall.
“The timing is perfect as we kick off the summer with special savings on our most loved European itineraries,” Bettridge said. “For a limited time, we’re giving back to travelers that want to get back out there and explore with even more family and friends with two-for-the-price-of-one trips.”
Padgett also noted that Princess “has great options currently available for vacations in Europe, Alaska, the Caribbean, Canada and Australia at incredible values.”