With European COVID travel restrictions changing all the time, the onus is on cruisers to keep up with the latest information -- including whether a COVID booster is needed for international travel.
In the case of travel to Europe, a COVID booster is needed to travel and set sail -- but not for all passengers.
Here's what you need to know about Europe travel restrictions regarding booster shots and vaccinations, as they affect cruisers.
The short answer for most people is: yes.
Royal Caribbean's guidance states that all passengers should be "up-to-date" on their vaccinations for "the best European cruise experience". The line explains what that means:
"You received your final dose in your original two-dose vaccine series (or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson) no more than 9 months (270 days) ago, or a booster dose. Guests that have received a booster dose will qualify regardless of the amount of time that has passed since receiving their booster. Children who have received one dose (unless Johnson & Johnson) do not count as fully vaccinated."
These rules apply to all passengers aged 12 and up, except for Italy, where all passengers 6 and up are required to have obtained shots and boosters. For those that haven't, a series of COVID-19 tests may be required in order to participate in the cruise.
That's not to say that 9 months is a hard-and-fast rule, either. Carnival Cruise Line requires passengers on its European sailings on Carnival Pride and the forthcoming Carnival Celebration to present proof of a booster if the initial vaccination doses were given more than six months ago.
If passengers have received the booster shot, there's no expiry on that, a Carnival spokesperson confirmed to Cruise Critic.
The best way to ensure you're compliant for any trip to Europe is to simply ensure you are fully vaccinated and have obtained any booster shot(s) you are eligible for.
For those who are too young to be fully vaccinated, entry will still be allowed and, depending on your cruise line, unvaccinated kids may be able to cruise who are not eligible by age.
For best results, always double-check the latest requirements with your cruise line (and airline). Forewarned is better than denied boarding.