COVID-19: Cruise ship travel requirements

COVID-19 continues to circulate in Canada and internationally. The virus can spread easily between people in close quarters, such as on cruise ships. The chance of being infected with COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you’re fully vaccinated.

Follow individual public health measures such as wearing a mask and physical distancing, even if it’s not required.

If you aren’t fully vaccinated, or if you’re at higher risk for developing severe disease from COVID-19, you should avoid cruise ship travel.

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Vaccination requirements

To embark on a cruise ship that will start, dock or end in Canada, if you’re 12 years of age or older, you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with very few exceptions.

Check if you qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller

Entering Canada by land or air before embarking on a cruise

You must complete your ArriveCAN submission before entering Canada, no more than 72 hours of boarding your flight or before entering Canada by land.

You must also submit a second ArriveCAN submission no more than 72 hours before boarding the cruise. This applies even if your second ArriveCAN submission is within 72 hours of the first submission.

Upon your entry to Canada by air or at a land border crossing, the border services officer may notify you that you’ve been randomly selected for a mandatory arrival test.

Mandatory random testing is part of the Government of Canada surveillance program to track the importation of COVID-19 virus into Canada, and identify new variants of concern.

Boarding cruises and shore excursions

Some requirements for boarding a cruise, either at the beginning of the cruise or as part of a shore excursion, may be different depending on where you are boarding and which countries your ship will visit.

Mandatory requirements for all travellers, including Canadians, include pre-embarkation testing and can include ArriveCAN if your ship is coming to or returning to Canada.

Choose the scenario below that best fits your cruise plans:

Starting an international cruise in Canada or arriving by cruise from another country

These requirements apply to cruises:

All travellers are required to:

Shore excursions in Canada during the cruise

Cruises that are staying in Canadian waters or not returning to Canada

All travellers are required to take a pre-embarkation COVID-19 test before embarking on a cruise in Canada, even if the cruise ship is not leaving Canadian waters

Travellers who are staying within Canada throughout their entire journey or who are leaving Canada and not returning don’t have to complete ArriveCAN.

Providing proof of vaccination

You’re required to upload your proof of vaccination into ArriveCAN before:

This applies to all travellers, including Canadians. ArriveCAN is mandatory and free for all travellers entering Canada, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status.

The Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination is a reliable way for Canadians to show their COVID-19 vaccination history when you travel. It has all the necessary information for domestic and international trips.

If you plan to show your proof of vaccination on your phone, we recommend that you carry a back-up paper copy with you in case of difficulties (for example, power failure of your device).

If you don't have Canadian proof of vaccination

Whether your proof of vaccination was issued in Canada or another country, it must include the following information:

Protecting your privacy

Protecting the privacy of Canadians is integral to implementing these requirements. Please note that cruise ship operators, airlines and railway companies are subject to applicable Canadian privacy legislation with respect to the handling of your personal information. For information on how they process your personal information, please visit their website for their privacy policy or contact them directly.

In the event that any personal information is provided to Transport Canada, it will only be used and disclosed by Transport Canada in accordance with the Privacy Act and its regulations. The personal information collected, as well as its use, disclosure and retention, will be described in the applicable personal information banks, which are currently being developed and/or modified, and will be published on Transport Canada’s Info Source page.

Transport Canada’s Privacy Notice Statement

Pre-embarkation COVID-19 testing

All travellers 5 years of age or older must have a COVID-19 test to board a cruise ship in Canada or to board a cruise ship that will dock in Canada at any point on the cruise. You must provide proof of one of the following accepted types of test results:

  1. Proof of a professionally administered or observed negative antigen test taken no more than 2 days before you’re scheduled to board your ship
    • the 2-day window does not depend on the time of day the test was taken or the time that you board
    • for example, if your ship is scheduled to leave on Friday, you could provide proof of a negative result from an antigen test taken any time on Wednesday, Thursday, or on Friday
    • it must be administered or observed by a pharmacy, laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth online service
    • the test must be authorized for sale or distribution in Canada or in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained
  2. Proof of a valid negative molecular test taken within 72 hours of your scheduled boarding time
    • for example, if you’re scheduled to board at 11:00 am on Friday, your test must have been taken any time after 10:59 am on Tuesday
    • it must be administered or observed by a pharmacy, laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth online service
    • the test must be authorized for sale or distribution in Canada or in the jurisdiction in which it was obtained
  3. Previous positive molecular test result: you no longer have symptoms and provide proof of a positive molecular test taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before you board. Counting starts the day after your test.
    • for example, if your positive COVID-19 molecular test was taken on January 1, then January 11 would be the earliest scheduled date you could board
    • a positive antigen test result is never a valid test result for boarding a ship and can’t be used as proof of a previous infection

If you’re exempt from the vaccination requirements, you must also take a COVID-19 antigen test on the day you board the cruise ship, in addition to taking a pre-embarkation test. The test must be negative. This applies to travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated for:

Accepted types of tests

Molecular tests

These tests use methods such as a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, nose swab, or saliva sample.

Other acceptable types of molecular tests:

Antigen tests

Your antigen test must be administered or observed by a laboratory or testing provider.

Phrases indicating a test is an antigen test could include, but is not limited to:

If you test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19 on your cruise

During your cruise, self-monitor for symptoms and report any symptoms to cruise line officials

When your cruise ends

Advice for planning your cruise ship travel

Before you go on a cruise

If you decide to take a cruise, there are some important facts you should consider.

Advice if your cruise ship travel is outside of Canada

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