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Norwegian Cruise Line Ends All Covid-19 Testing, Masking and Vaccination Requirements

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  • Norwegian Cruise Line will end all Covid-19 testing, masking and vaccination requirements effective Tuesday.
  • Cruise passengers will still be subject to local Covid-19 travel requirements.
  • Carnival and Royal Caribbean still require testing for unvaccinated passengers.

Norwegian Cruise Line announced Monday that it will suspend all Covid-19 testing, masking and vaccination requirements.

The change goes into effect Tuesday, the company said.

Norwegian is the first of the major cruise lines to end its testing requirements for unvaccinated passengers. But passengers are still subject to the local travel requirements set by each country.

"Many travelers have been patiently waiting to take their long-awaited vacation at sea and we cannot wait to celebrate their return," said Harry Sommer, Norwegian's president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Norwegian's ships reported an occupancy rate of 65% for its second quarter, up from 48% in the prior quarter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended its voluntary Covid-19 program for cruise ships in July. Since then, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean simplified their requirements, but still require proof of a negative test from unvaccinated passengers.

Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings closed up less than 1% Monday.

Cruise lines have continued to struggle despite easing Covid-19 rules for passengers. Inflation keeps squeezing consumers' budgets and rising costs are cutting into cruises' bottom lines. Last week, Carnival's share price fell below its April 2020 pandemic low following a bleak earnings report.

Cruise companies also took on billions of dollars of debt during pandemic lockdowns, and some investors worry the payments will balloon as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates.

Correction: Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line were trading Monday. An earlier version misstated the day.

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