Do I need travel vaccinations before my cruise?

This article will provide an overview of the vaccinations and medication that may be required for protection against diseases in certain parts of the world. This is not medical advice. You should speak to your doctor or travel clinic at least four to six weeks before the start date of your cruise to ensure that you are accessing the most up-to-date information. For questions concerning COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please see our COVID-19 policy.


Travel vaccinations


Before travelling to any country, you should check that your routine vaccinations are up to date, including tetanus, polio and TB. 

For tropical and subtropical destinations, vaccination against hepatitis A and typhoid is usually recommended. If your itinerary includes travel to more remote areas, vaccinations for cholera, diphtheria, rabies and Japanese encephalitis are also worth considering. 

Many countries now require a yellow fever vaccination, a disease spread by day-biting mosquitos. The disease is found in parts of Central and South America and Sub-Saharan Africa; however, many other countries require visitors to be vaccinated to prevent it from spreading elsewhere. You should acquire your yellow fever vaccine at least ten days before entering a yellow fever area. The vaccine can take a few days to become effective and can cause flu-like symptoms – not something you want to experience during the first few days of your cruise. 

Some countries require proof of vaccination, either for all visitors or only from visitors arriving from certain destinations – and this can include passengers in transit. 


Malaria


Widespread in many tropical and subtropical countries, risk of contracting malaria is at its highest where mosquitos are prolific. It is one of the most common diseases in Africa and can be prevented and treated with antimalarial medication. Your doctor or travel clinician can advise you on whether antimalarial prophylactics are appropriate for your ports of call. 

It's also advisable to exercise mosquito bite prevention. Applying insect repellent to any exposed skin and wearing light-coloured long-sleeved tops and trousers in the evening is recommended.


The bottom line

Travel health requirements are continually changing, so seek the most recent advice from a medical professional. Guests travelling from the UK can consult the ‘fit for travel’ website for the latest information.  

Please keep in mind that it’s likely that your cruise will be visiting more than one region or country, so you will need to consider each port of call in your itinerary when discussing requirements with your doctor/travel clinician.