Guidelines and regulations will vary across cruise lines and their individual ships. It’s important that you’re aware of the details that apply on any specific cruise you’re interested in booking.
Rules you may be required to abide by cover instances such as: testing before boarding, daily screenings, masking in indoor public spaces, isolation procedures for those testing positive for Covid and their close contacts.
Additional protocols may include physical distancing that reduces capacity in areas such as restaurants or theatres, limiting shore excursions based on local laws, and the need to fulfil Covid vaccination requirements in some destinations. Check with your cruise line before booking.
Now, most cruise lines do not require masks while you’re on board. However, masks may be mandated while you embark or disembark at home or other ports. Your cruise line may recommend you consider masking when you’re indoors or at large events on board where you can’t easily practise physical distancing.
There are strict procedures in place if you do test positive for Covid while you’re on board. You’ll most likely be required to stay in your own cabin for a specified number of days, or be relocated to a designated deck for affected passengers.
During this time, you’ll continue to receive all meals and drinks, and possibly wi-fi and entertainment (like movies) that are available on your cruise line. It's possible additional rules will apply to close contacts, such as daily RAT tests or mandatory masks outside the cabin.
Should more than 10% of people on board test positive, your cruise ship may introduce additional safety initiatives for all, like testing and mask wearing.
Depending on your insurance cover, you may be compensated or refunded for any lost days or missed excursions.
Learn more about RAC’s cruise travel insurance with Covid cover.
Choosing the best cruising time for you depends on several factors, such as your destination, your budget, and the weather conditions you prefer. Each hemisphere has its peak season that tends to be the most popular for ocean cruises and river cruises.
In the northern hemisphere, the ideal time to cruise is from late spring to early autumn. In the southern hemisphere the most popular time is from December to February.
It’s worth noting that if you prefer a more affordable and less crowded cruise experience, you should think about travelling outside of these times. Chat to your friendly RAC cruise team about options for the shoulder season or off-season.
Your need to carry a passport on a cruise will depend on your destination, your nationality, and how you will travel to or from departure or arrival ports.
If you’re on a domestic cruise around Australia only, you will not require your passport if you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
When taking an international cruise that visits ports in countries outside of Australia, you will require a passport, no matter your nationality or residency status.
Make sure to check well in advance with your cruise line company about any specific passport and visa requirements for your cruise holiday.
Being apprehensive about seasickness on a cruise is understandable, but it’s not something everyone experiences. Today’s modern cruise ships are designed with advanced stabilisers that minimise movement, making it less likely you’ll feel seasick.
You can draw on a wide range of over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms, or use measures such as pressure-point wristbands to help.
The best approach is to be prepared with the right remedies, and talk to your healthcare professional ahead of time if you have concerns about seasickness.
Each cruise line company will have its own policy about permitting pregnant women to travel on their ships. In general, if you’re less than 24 weeks pregnant and have a doctor’s written approval stating you’re fit to travel, you will be able to join a cruise.
It’s important to remember that some cruise lines may have policies that are more restrictive, or they may require extra documents. If you’re interested in a cruise, ensure you review the specific cruise line’s guidelines before you make a booking.
Learn more about RAC’s cruise travel insurance with medical cover.
Most cruise lines will not allow pets on board. The exceptions are service animals for cruise passengers with disabilities. With health and safety concerns being paramount, and potential disruptions pets may cause, it is understandable that this policy applies to most cruise ships.
There are some cruise lines that may offer kennel services for pets at specified ports. Here pets can remain in a secure facility while owners enjoy time on the cruise ship. However, you should always check with the cruise line for their policy on pets in advance of booking.
These days, most modern cruise ships offer passengers access to wi-fi on board. But remember that wi-fi on a cruise may be limited or slower than you’re used to on land. This is because of limitations satellite technology may present.
Some cruise lines may offer you wi-fi packages you can purchase. Others may include it as part of your cruise fare. Plan ahead and look at the wi-fi access and policy of the cruise line you’re considering travelling with and work out the cost of the service if there is one.