The highest hygiene standards

The protection and health of guests and crew always have top priority for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Together with experts and the relevant authorities, we have developed a safety and prevention concept for the resumption of cruise operations. This concept enables a safe and comfortable cruise on board and meets the highest hygiene standards with regard to COVID-19. In addition to organisation, capacity planning and hygiene measures, the concept also includes in-depth training for the crew on board and requesting that guests fill out an obligatory health questionnaire.

Health questionnaire for all cruises

Our health questionnaire for all cruises can be downloaded as a PDF here.


Basic hygiene and prevention measures

Travelling with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has always meant enjoying the luxury of spacious interiors with few fellow travellers on board the small luxury and expedition ships. Our spacious outside cabins, a high proportion of which have balconies, provide private places to retreat to. A crew-to-passenger ratio of almost 1:1 guarantees personal and particularly attentive service. Measures that we have also adjusted:

Plenty of room for few passengers
Adjusting the number of guests makes it easy to maintain the prescribed minimum distance of 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) between people in public areas. Keeping the number of crew at the usual high level while significantly reducing passenger numbers means a crew-to-passenger ratio of 1:1. This enables more individual service and more resources for implementing the hygiene measures.

General cleaning and disinfection
The Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet is subject to the strictest hygiene standards (OPP Level 3). These standards include regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in particular. At the changeover of guests, the entire ship will be cleaned and disinfected between disembarkation and embarkation.

State-of-the-art hygiene technology
The ships are fitted with thermal imaging cameras and a laboratory (QIAstat-Dx) to facilitate the ad hoc detection of viral diseases such as Covid-19. Cold fogging machines are used to fully disinfect suites, cabins and public areas.

The safety and health of our guests, partners and crew members is always our top priority. The strictest hygiene regulations and continuous controls have always been a matter of course on board all Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ships. The medical provision and equipment in the hospitals on board corresponds to the highest cruise ship standards. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been working with experts and the relevant authorities to draw up a safety and prevention policy and have supplemented existing plans. The comprehensive prevention and hygiene policy has been inspected by SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS, an independent provider of non-medical laboratory analysis services, and is monitored continuously. The measures in the policy ensure a safe, comfortable cruise on board while meeting the strictest hygiene standards.

Shore excursions are being prepared with the greatest of care and in close coordination with the relevant authorities and destinations. Cruise ships are subject to different regulations than land-based tourism in some cases. Approval from the ports always depends on how the current situation is developing and the number of cases. Consequently, shore excursions and trips ashore that have been organised and scheduled can even be cancelled at the last minute.

Mandatory action prior to departure: Health questionnaire and Covid-19 test

In order to embark, you must have these things alongside the usual documents and identification:

  • Completed health questionnaire: there will be an extensive health questionnaire prior to departure which you must bring with you when you embark.
  • A machine-readable vaccination certificate (e.g. the EU Digital COVID Certificate) and the international WHO vaccination passport showing that you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
  • Negative Covid-19 test results obtained within predetermined time frames. Country-specific regulations that exempt people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 from the obligation to take a test may apply. Guests will receive more detailed information about the testing strategy for their cruise along with their travel documents.

Measures during embarkation and disembarkation

If they are making their own arrangements to arrive by train or plane, we urge all guests to check the specific regulations regarding face masks or a negative Covid-19 test result, for example, before starting their journey.

As of 1 February 2021, all air passengers aged six or older are required to wear medical face masks in the airport and on board the aircraft. Only surgical masks, FFP2 masks or KN95/N95 masks without a valve are permitted from this point onwards. This measure applies regardless of the local laws or regulations from the local health authority. As of February, other types of face mask or nose and mouth covering do not meet the requirements to board an aircraft.

Guests will be given a time slot for embarkation along with the booking confirmation. Embarkation will be staggered and social distancing rules will apply. Embarking and disembarking passengers will not come into contact with one another. Guests must wear a medical face mask (surgical masks, FFP2 masks or KN95/N95 masks with no valve) during embarkation and disembarkation. Before guests can embark, they must first present the necessary negative Covid-19 test results and proof of vaccination for the cruise in question. Guests must also submit a health questionnaire which will be checked by the medical staff who may make enquiries if necessary. All guests will have their body temperatures taken with a contactless thermometer and, before checking in, must take a rapid antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 which will be administered by trained personnel.

Like embarkation, disembarkation will be staggered and social distancing rules will apply. Guests must wear a medical face mask (surgical masks, FFP2 masks or KN95/N95 masks with no valve). The cruise department will assign time slots to guests in good time prior to disembarkation.

Life on board with the hygiene and prevention measures

Due to the spacious nature of our ships, it is easy to maintain a minimum distance between those on board. A medical face mask (surgical masks, FFP2 masks or KN95/N95 masks with no valve) must always be worn on board as a preventive measure if social distancing cannot be maintained. This applies to embarkation and disembarkation, Zodiac and tender operations, using the lifts, during the muster drill and on the way to and from it, on the way to the restaurants, at the buffet and when shopping in the boutique, for example. Face masks are not mandatory on the outside decks if social distancing can be maintained.

There are no exemptions from this on board, including with a medical certificate.

Please note that face shields and cloths, scarves or similar textiles cannot be used in place of medical face masks.

Due to the spacious interiors on board our ships, guests are not otherwise obliged to wear face masks.


Our fleet has the high OPP Level 2 hygiene standard. This includes regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces – such as in lifts or the handrails on the stairs – every 30 minutes. All cabins and suites are disinfected with cold fogging machines before the arrival of new guests. The cabins are cleaned in the morning and the evening. A cabin can be cleaned for a third time at the request of the guest. The cleaners will pay particular attention to selected contact points such as light switches, bathroom surfaces and everyday devices such as the TV remote. Guests will be asked to vacate the suite while the cleaning process takes place.


Guests are free to choose when they would like to eat and where they would like to sit. Up to eight people from no more than four different households may sit at a table.

The seating plans in all the bars have been changed to allow for physical distancing. When all available seats are filled, no additional guests will be allowed to enter the bar. Only when guests leave the bar and seats become free can more guests enter the bar. There will be no service for the guests at the bar counter.

All events, sport and entertainment options with low numbers of participants and with no close contact will be provided. Childcare is available with a limited number of participants. Children aged seven and under are not required to wear a face mask.

No, the number of showings at the theatre will be doubled – one showing before and one showing after dinner. The allocation will be made based on the deck and will change on a daily basis.

Additional hygiene measures will also be implemented in the spa and will be regularly checked by the spa manager. For example, no product testers will be available and all items for sale will be locked inside cabinets until further notice. Medical face masks must be worn during treatments; exceptions to this rule are cosmetic treatments and massages which require you to lie on your front. Masks should be worn when turning from your front to your back. For a facial massage, the spa attendant will wear a face shield, disposable gloves and an FFP2 mask. The whole wet area including the saunas, showers, changing cubicles and relaxation room can be used if the relevant precautions are taken. For example, there is a limit on the number of people who can use the facilities at once. A limited number of guests are also permitted to use the pool at the same time.

Guests and staff are required to wear a medical face mask in the spa and hairdresser salon until further notice (surgical masks, FFP2 masks or KN95/N95 masks with no valve). The rooms are cleaned and disinfected before and after every treatment. Dispensers for hand disinfection are available at the entrance to the spa and in the treatment rooms. In order to avoid people gathering in the waiting area, appointment times will be staggered.

Travelling when fully vaccinated

All cruises with Hapag-Lloyd Cruises are only be available to guests who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (this applies to all guests aged 18 and over at the start of a cruise). This includes a corresponding requirement for crew members. For the time being, this rule does not apply to guests on the ALBERT BALLIN private jet.

Evidence of full vaccination against Covid­19 must be provided at embarkation: this must be shown on a printed vaccination certificate and on a digital vaccination certificate. The approved vaccines are those from BionTech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Full vaccination protection requires the second dose (or the first dose for Johnson & Johnson) to have been administered at least 14 full days ago. People who have recovered from Covid-19 count as fully vaccinated after having received a single dose of the vaccination.

For Johnson & Johnson, this time period may vary – for example, in Norway, you are considered to be fully vaccinated after 21 days; in France, this applies after 28 days. If this applies to you, please contact our service hotline regarding the specific rules for your cruise.

Proof of recovery with no additional proof of vaccination is not sufficient (applies from cruises EUX2183, EUR2122, INS2166, NAT2123, SPI2139).

The vaccination requirement on board Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ships applies to everyone over the age of 18. Depending on the cruising area, individual regulations that also require younger passengers to be vaccinated may apply. Guests will be made aware of special regulations in good time prior to departure.

We always strive to provide safe, enjoyable cruises for our guests. If we can make more things available on board and on shore excursions within the boundaries of the regulations that apply during the cruise (e.g. rules on households dining together, self-service at the buffet and cocktail receptions), we will endeavour to do so. At the moment, this always depends on the international regulations that apply to cruise ships and the regulations specific to each cruising area, and is reflected in the hygiene and prevention policy.

Our cruises have a prevention and hygiene policy which implements the relevant local and international rules for cruises that are valid at the time of the cruise and serves as the basis for approval of the planned route. This policy requires a negative Covid-19 test result – or a certificate if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 – to be presented alongside the completed health questionnaire during embarkation. An antigen test will also be administered as part of the embarkation process and is mandatory for all guests.

Depending on the cruising area, the regulations may vary or even change at short notice, e.g. with regard to age limits or time frames for vaccination requirements. Guests will receive up-to-date information along with their travel documents and on board.

Measures to be taken in the case of a Covid-19 case on board

Qualified medical personnel are present on every cruise. Should a guest notice that they have symptoms of Covid-19 during the cruise, they should notify our medical personnel by phone immediately. If there is one or several confirmed cases of Covid-19 on board, a precisely defined procedure with specific measures will take effect. The top priority is always to prevent the further transmission of the virus on board. The patient will be isolated in a cabin with a balcony and be provided with appropriate care. All close contact persons of the patient will be identified without delay and also isolated as a preventive measure. Several suites/cabins on each ship will be kept vacant to be used as isolation wards. The isolation wards have their own entrance and are separated from all other suites and cabins.

The top priority, however, is to transfer the guest – especially symptomatic passengers – ashore for further medical supervision as soon as possible. Asymptomatic passengers will be required to isolate ashore in accommodation provided by the local authorities. We are working with an expert service provider which will oversee the entire process and even transportation back to your home country if necessary.

Avoiding the potential spread of a disease is always the top priority. With that in mind, the measures to be taken, including quarantine, will be decided upon based on the circumstances, situation and proportionality. Depending on the position of the ship, the appropriate orders may be issued by the cruise company or in consultation with the responsible local authorities.

Passengers who do not show symptoms and have not had close contact with the isolated patient will not be isolated. Furthermore, in consultation with the local health authorities, measures analogous to the customary national processes for handling the virus will be discussed.

As long as the guest is not quarantined, and in coordination with the authorities responsible, this is possible. However, this does not give rise to any claim for reimbursement of the (proportional) cruise price.

If a case is suspected, the guest will first be quarantined on board. The ship’s doctor will carry out the appropriate test. If the test is positive, the guest must remain in isolation. Symptomatic passengers will be admitted to a hospital ashore for medical treatment. Asymptomatic passengers will be required to isolate ashore in accommodation provided by the local authorities. Our service provider MEDCON will provide support on-site and assist with transport back home. The guest bears the costs. We recommend that you take out appropriate supplementary insurance.