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Cruise Line Protocols

Across the cruise industry, frameworks and guidance have been issued outlining the protocols required for a safe return to cruise. This guidance is required to be met and followed for the resumption of cruise ship operators either from the UK or U.S.

Please read our content carefully below.

General Guidance

As you have probably heard, there have been many changes to how we cruise, and new health and safety protocols that all cruise lines have been added to make the return to cruising safe for everyone.

Each cruise line, part of the world, or country may have slightly different procedures depending on the current local situation with COVID-19 – and these are always subject to change. We encourage you to check the cruise line’s own website for the most up-to-date information regarding any updates and the website for any region or country-specific information.

Please respect any rules put in place by the cruise line, they are all in place for your health and safety.

We hope that these changes make you feel at ease about returning to cruise. All the new protocols have been meticulously put together and sanctioned by multiple organisations (including the US CDC and CLIA) to ensure maximum safety for guests and crew.

While it may take a little getting used to these new measures (some of all of which may only be temporary) please feel rest assured that they are all there to keep you safe and healthy and back enjoying cruising.

Guidance for Returning to Cruise

Created by the UK Chamber of Shipping, in collaboration with CLIA, the guidance for UK cruise operators identifies the key plans and measures operators must have in place to ensure they are able to restart safely. This involves recommendations, external verifications and upholding existing UK Government shoreside guidance too. Guidance for passengers on-board these cruise lines includes:

At time of booking

Check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice; confirm your travel insurance cover; check your cruise lines exclusion policy to see where you fall

Before boarding

Travel safely to the terminal, avoiding busy times and routes where possible, and remain socially distanced when travelling. Arrive at the terminal only with those you are travelling with, maintaining social distance and adhere to the current guidance regarding face coverings

At the cruise terminal

All passengers are required to take a COVID-19 test for voyages on all ships carrying 250+ persons. A negative test is required in order to embark, if a screening concludes you have COVID-19 or have been exposed, you will be denied boarding

On-board your cruise

Follow the cruise line protocols in place to ensure a safe journey, such as:

  • You may be required to wear face masks when walking around public areas of the ship
  • You may be required to use the ship’s app (free of charge) to order things such as drinks, food in restaurants or make reservations for spa treatments, to limit contact of people touching menus
  • Buffet restaurants are open as usual, but staff will serve you food, rather than multiple guests touching the same serving tongs, to limit the number of people touching the same surfaces
  • You may be required to have your temperature taken during your cruise. This is because people with a fever have more chance of having COVID-19, so checking this with everyone helps reduce risk for everyone
  • Cruise lines have always had multiple hand sanitising stations throughout every ship, but you will notice more than before. Some may be manned by staff at entrances to restaurants for example, to ensure that these are utilised
  • You will notice more hand washing stations on many ships on the way into dining venues for you to use too
  • You may notice more crew cleaning around the ship than ever before – in particular, wiping down surfaces that are often touched by many people, including lift buttons, handrails on stairways and door handles in public rooms. This is good, and to stop the potential spreading of any germs
  • There may be social distancing in place in some public venues, such as the ship’s theatre, where some seats are marked to not use

In port

Follow the cruise line protocols in place to ensure safe port visits. Be aware of the local or national COVID-19 requirements. You may also have your temperature checked when disembarking or re-embarking the ship or be required to take a COVID-19 test

Return to UK

You may be required to take a COVID-19 test, and you may need to self-isolate in the UK, depending on your previous destinations. Leave the port terminal as soon as possible

Remain safe

Maintain social distancing from people outside your household or support bubble and wash your hands regularly. Follow the cruise line protocols

You can find out more about the framework and read the guidance in full at

There is also a framework for cruise lines operating in the US. The Conditional Sailing Order was released on 31st October, detailing the requirements cruise lines must meet before allowing passengers aboard. You can read this in full at

Cruise Line Protocols

Each cruise line has been developing their own health and safety measures, ready for resuming sailing. These measures will apply to all guests and crew on-board and be mandatory to follow in order to reduce the risk of infection and maintain safety for all.

These protocols are subject to change in line with the evolving response measures as conditions warrant. They will be continually evaluated and adjusted against the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cruise lines have also developed Cruise with Confidence programmes to offer more flexibility for customers. Where applicable, you can find these listed below. It is important to know that this information was correct at the time of publishing and we recommend checking the cruise line's website directly to confirm their policies should you wish to amend or cancel your booking.

Published on 21st December 2021.

Please be aware that these were correct at the time of publishing and we recommend reviewing the cruise lines own policies for up-to-date information, the links of which are provided below.



  • Health & Safety Protocols - 
  • Cruise with Confidence - 
  • Amend your river cruise up to 48 hours prior to sailing for all Europe 2021 river cruises up to 31st December 2021. Reschedule your 2021 cruise with no charges applicable. Add Travel Waiver Plus up until 90 days prior to departure for March through to April 2022 sailings, or at time of booking for all cruises in May 2022 onwards. This offers the option to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours prior to sailing.


Avalon Waterways

  • Health & Safety Protocols - 
  • Cruise with Confidence - 
  • All 2022 bookings automatically come with Avalon Waterways' Peace of Mind Travel Plan. This allows you to move your cruise to another destination, date, or brand, no questions asked. Travel dates can be moved up to 90 days before departure for 2022 bookings. Other tours/cruises must be moved 120 days before departure dates.

Emerald Cruises

Riviera Travel

Saga River

Scenic River

  • Health & Safety Protocols - 
  • Cruise with Confidence - Transfer your cruise to an alternative date or cancel up to 60 days prior to your cruise with no fees applicable from Scenic (third party fees may apply).


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