Prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships


The Government of Canada is committed to restarting the cruise season in Canada with mitigation measures in place for COVID-19. Transport Canada, along with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, other levels of government, the United States government, transportation industry stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and Arctic communities, are working together to ensure measures are in place and cruise ship travel is as safe as possible for COVID-19.

The possibility of welcoming cruise ships back to our waters is possible because Canadians stepped up, rolled up their sleeves, got vaccinated and followed public health measures.

The industry has made possible the safe return of cruise ships to Canadian waters by committing to a comprehensive set of enhanced onboard safety protocols, including vaccinations, enhanced hygiene practices and screening. passengers, as set out below, based on the best available scientific data.

The Government of Canada continues to advise travelers to proceed with caution, and will continue to assess the measures and will not hesitate to make adjustments to ensure the safety of Canadians and the transportation system.

Obligations of the cruise line

In Canada, as a condition of navigation, cruise passengers will be required to respect a strict sanitary framework comprising three main components:

1. COVID-19 management plans
Measures to prevent or limit introduction and/or spread on board cruise ships, including:

  • Pre-boarding measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19;
  • Measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 on board;
  • Measures to prevent transmission during shore excursions and port visits;
  • Measures to isolate suspected and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19; and
  • Preparedness and response to suspected and/or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

2. Ship-Shore Checklist
Measures to prevent or limit the spread of COVID-19 when embarking and disembarking passengers at a port. These must be accepted by operators, ports and local public health officials, and must take into account:

  • A COVID-19 management plan, which includes an outbreak management plan;
  • Mask wearing and physical distancing in accordance with local/provincial health guidelines;
  • Hygiene measures, cleaning and disinfection; and
  • Staff education and training.

3. Testing and Reporting Requirements
Under the Order of quarantine, isolation and other obligationsthe Entry ban orderand the Transport Canada Interim Ordercruise passengers and passengers will have to comply with strict testing requirements at key checkpoints and must report to the Government of Canada.

Obligations of cruise lines

  • Pre-boarding on a cruise ship
    • Crew and passengers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Very limited exemptions to this requirement include:
      • Children under 12 (note that many cruise lines require vaccinations for children 5 years and older);
      • Evidence of a medical contraindication; Where
      • Religious belief (only for those entitled to enter Canada, including Canadians and those embarking in Canada).
        • Canadians include citizens, persons registered under the Indian Actand permanent residents.
        • Under the quarantine law border measures, a foreign national cannot enter Canada by cruise ship or any other mode of transportation with a religious belief exemption.
    • Check the results of pre-boarding tests and the health status of passengers.
    • Exemption requests must be submitted to cruise lines, who will be required to report them to Transport Canada.
  • During a trip
    • Crew and passengers are required to self-monitor for symptoms;
    • The cruise line is responsible for:
      • screening (using an antigen test) of suspected cases;
      • testing (using a molecular test) to confirm positive cases;
      • isolate positive cases; and
      • testing close contacts of the positive case(s).
  • Disembarking from a cruise ship in Canada
    • The cruise line should report symptomatic or positive passengers and/or crew to Transport Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, the port and the local/provincial public health office.
    • Provide testing facilities and testing for passengers to take either a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of disembarking a cruise ship or an antigen test no more than a day prior to arrival planned.

Obligations of passengers

  • Pre-boarding on a cruise ship
    • Passengers must take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of boarding a cruise ship or take an antigen test within a day of scheduled departure.
    • Before their cruise departs, a traveler will need to enter their trip information on the ArriveCAN website.
    • Passengers requesting a medical contraindication or religious belief waiver should contact their cruise line to see if this is permitted. These exemptions are very limited.
  • During a trip
    • Passengers are required to self-monitor for symptoms and report them to cruise line officials, who will then take appropriate action (testing, isolation and contact tracing).
  • Disembarking from a cruise ship in Canada
    • Passengers must take a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of arrival in Canada or take an antigen test within a day of expected arrival. All on board, including crew and passengers, must monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after arriving in Canada, in accordance with the Order of quarantine, isolation and other obligations.

If there are cases of COVID-19 on board a cruise ship

Even with the measures in place, COVID-19 remains a risk for cruise ship passengers. Passengers may develop symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive while on a cruise. If this happens, a passenger can expect to be isolated on board the ship and unable to participate in communal activities. At the end of their cruise, it will be the responsibility of the cruise line to arrange for COVID-19 safe accommodation for passengers isolation that meet the Order of quarantine, isolation and other obligations conditions.

If a significant number of cases appear on a cruise ship, elements of the COVID-19 management plan will be activated and public health measures will be implemented to manage cases and potential contacts, including:

  • isolate additional passengers on board the cruise ship;
  • perform medical examinations; and
  • move passengers to another location ashore.

Additional mandatory public health measures, either through the Public Health Agency of Canada or the provincial public health unit, would be taken to mitigate the risk of further transmission of COVID-19 in Canada.


Cruise lines should use the ArriveCAN website to provide mandatory travel information before boarding their cruise and after entering Canada to report signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

Cruise passengers will be required to submit their information on a web-based version of ArriveCAN before boarding a cruise ship arriving or returning to Canada.

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