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Norwegian Cruise Line to drop face mask requirement for US vessels beginning March 1

The cruise line said it still recommends face coverings when guests are indoors
Credit: AP
The Norwegian Gem cruise ship is shown docked, Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, at PortMiami in Miami. A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Florida law that prevents cruise lines from requiring passengers to prove they're vaccinated against COVID-19. Judge Kathleen Williams says it fails to protect people even as it appears to violate the free speech rights of cruise lines. She says Norwegian Cruise Lines has shown that without proof of vaccination, cruising will jeopardize public health by potentially causing "super-spreader" events wherever passengers disembark. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

TAMPA, Fla. — Starting next month, Norwegian Cruise Line will no longer require face masks for ships leaving U.S. ports.

In a news release, the cruise line said it still recommends face coverings when guests are indoors.

"Guests are not required to wear masks onboard, however, we recognize the added protections provided when wearing a mask covering and recommend that all guests do so onboard when indoors, except when actively eating or drinking, or seated at a table in a dining setting, or when in their stateroom," the cruise line said in the release.

Norwegian says it is also recommending, not requiring, masks when guests are outside and cannot maintain physical distance. 

Several cruise lines have been under investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to COVID-19 outbreaks onboard ships.

In December, the CDC raised its alert to the highest level for cruises. They say that even fully vaccinated travelers could be at risk for infection and spread of COVID.   

The agency says if you do decide to take a cruise, you should get tested one to three days before the trip and three to five days after, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms. They also recommend that you are fully vaccinated and get a booster if eligible. 

And if you’re on a ship, they say you should wear a mask in shared spaces.


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