Is Miami Getting Back on Board with Cruise Travel in 2021?

17 July, 2021

Is Miami—the city of fun and great weather—getting back on board with cruise travel in 2021?

The travel industry will always be a big part of the Miami economy, and it’s not just because of tourism! Many residents commute to work on cruises every day. It was a shame when cruise ships stopped docking in Miami due to Covid restrictions—though understandable. But now, some ships are coming back for 2021 and we’re excited to safely set sail!


Traveling: It’s Essential to The Fabric of Miami

Let’s zoom out from our city for a second. Cruise ships are traveling all over the world, and that means restrictions can vary by region! For example:

To travel on a cruise ship in North America or Europe two months ago—you needed to be vaccinated against Covid. In Africa? No vaccine restrictions whatsoever! But in our current pandemic recovery stage, it’s best to navigate these changes as they come.

We understand the need for these restrictions. They keep up safe.

Still, Miami has been deeply affected by these changes. So now that we can remain safe with fewer restrictions, it’s okay to be excited!

Not being able to travel in a city like Miami was hard on us… Consider Miami professionals in the travel industry, Latin companies doing business with South America, or simply Miami natives relatives overseas. The back and forth travel that made their jobs or personal connections possible just stopped.

Everything’s changing now, though. In Florida ports, Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean will allow unvaccinated passengers with the CDC’s approval of their updated protocols.

Can’t take the vaccine where you live, but still want to sail out of Miami with your vaccinated friends or family? Or maybe you can’t take the vaccine for health reasons, but still want to take a trip without fear of Covid.

With the safety protocols in place, you can feel more at ease—and embark happily with your valid negative PCR test!


Setting Sail Again—What’s Being Done

It’s more challenging to find a cruise line that has lifted their restrictions than it is to find an airline who has. 

Cruises have just begun getting approved to set sail by the CDC in the past couple of months, while airlines have been working out the infrastructure of their precautionary measures all year! 

But now—the cruises are catching up.

The CDC has been working on getting cruises back on the water safely for a while now! They update the Conditional Sail Order often to keep guidelines up-to-date.

When setting up precautions, the approach was to be extra careful. This is still the case, with many ships who’ve been approved to set sail are requiring vaccination from passengers. There’s a slight exception in Florida—but we’ll get to that.

At this point, most lines have been approved for sail as long as they take precautions with unvaccinated guests. Let me tell you which ones are still waiting to hear their status soon so you can start planning your next vacation accordingly!


Can I get on a Cruise in Miami without being vaccinated?

Originally, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International have had restrictions for those who haven’t received their vaccines yet. Both would allow unvaccinated guests with proper precautions.

Now, Royal Caribbean will require proof of vaccination from guests 16 and older—except in ships leaving from Florida ports.

Since Florida’s governor banned the concept of vaccine passports, this requirement doesn’t extend to those Royal Caribbean ships leaving from Florida Ports.

Instead, cruises leaving from Florida are running safety simulations to ensure their protocols are effective. Once the CDC approves a simulation, we can feel confident and protected about boarding.

Disney just had a two-night simulation at the end of June, and we’ll keep you updated on what this means.

Norwegian Cruise Line has taken a more stringent approach by not allowing any unvaccinated passengers—promising to sail with fully vaccinated guests and crew through October.

So if you can’t get vaccinated but want to take a cruise out of Miami, opt for Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships… Just make sure to get tested before your trip—and while you’re onboard when possible!

Keep in mind that, under the CDC’s guidance, ships have been approved to sail as long as 95% of their crew and guests are vaccinated.—so you can feel safe when a ship has been approved.


A Rundown of Cruise Lines: Covid Restrictions & Protocols 

With everything changing so quickly, we recommend checking with the company before booking your trip.

Let’s go over some updates from major ones.

Royal Caribbean is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for guests traveling from some ports. Due to local regulations, the cruise line is mandating unvaccinated guests who leave from Florida Ports to carry COVID-19 insurance.

Some ships have been approved, and some have been canceled. For instance, in Australia, its princess cruises are canceled through to December. But signs point to a more positive outcome for ships from Florida ports. This Sunday, for instance, the Carnival Horizon will leave Miami.

They’re sailing Welcome Back voyages for unvaccinated passengers in Bermuda, Iceland, and Europe. They just had their first American passengers onboard, but no ships are leaving from American ports yet. So the Viking Cruises that generally depart from Fort Lauderdale are not yet running.

Norwegian Cruise Lines are requiring 100% of guests to be vaccinated to gain the CDC’s approval. With Florida’s ban of vaccine passports, Norwegian is reconsidering whether they will operate in Florida.


MSC Cruises don’t require passengers to be vaccinated, but they do require PCR tests 3 days prior to boarding, and have testing protocols in place. Passengers get tested two to three days before leaving for a cruise, just before embarking, and midway through the cruise. They have cruises leaving from US ports this summer. As of now, the MSC Meraviglia is leaving from Miami in August and September—but check their cruise itinerary changes for updates.

Which Covid test results do I need to Set Sail?


There is no one-size-fits-all policy for cruisers, so it is important to check with your cruise line prior to boarding the ship if you have specific questions about their requirements.

Generally, though, an RT-PCR test result will have you covered. Since it’s the gold standard, many cruises will require a negative result even for the vaccinated.

You can expect same-day results from our PCR tests. But we’re seeing a higher demand for rushed results before embarking on a cruise or flight.

With international cruises and flights coming back to our city, Alliance is making RT-PCR results even more readily available than before.


Until further notice, we’re including our mobile service for free when you book a PCR test.


Maybe you have a cruise coming up but no chance to get vaccinated before then. Or maybe you only have a couple of days before departure. Whatever your reason – if you’re in a rush, Alliance can get you a quick PCR test with same-day results.

Come get tested at our Miami Beach clinic before embarking!

Don’t have the time?

Just give us a call & Alliance lab techs come test you in our mobile lab—anywhere in Miami! 

You’ll get PCR results in as little as 30 minutes via email, ready to start cruisin’.

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