The cruise industry giant Carnival Cruise Line has updated its Covid-19 testing requirements for passengers heading on a cruise, as well as revealing that they are to introduce mobile pre-cruise Covid-19 testing facilities for their passengers to use at several of its homeports. The new developments by Carnival come amidst a flurry of positive test results from passengers taking part in cruises put in by Carnival, Royal Caribbean and several other major cruise lines.
Designed with safety and health in mind, the changes being implemented by Carnival are just the latest in a string of several rules and regulation changes to be made over the past few months, as cruise lines around the world constantly refine their Covid-19 policies to better protect their passengers. Here’s a closer look at the testing requirement updates, and what we know so far about Carnival’s mobile testing facilities.
New Testing Requirement – What Travelers Should Know
As is the case with air travel, cruise passengers must provide negative Covid-19 tests in order to be able to board their cruise. Under the previous testing rules set forth by Carnival, passengers could take their Covid-19 tests up to 72 hours prior to their cruise departing. This time frame is popular within the travel industry, with many countries also requiring passengers to produce negative tests taken with 72 hours when arriving via air. However, under the new changes, the length of time between testing and boarding the cruise has been cut.
Late on Thursday, Carnival released an update to their health and safety protocol, bringing their policies in line with those of the CDC. The update revealed that vaccinated passengers would need to provide a negative test taken within the previous two days, shortening the length of time. This policy has also been introduced by other cruise lines, such as Celebrity, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
The new requirement is set to go into effect later this month, on September 13th. On their website, Carnival goes to great lengths to make it clear for passengers, explaining that “if the sailing is on Saturday, the test may be taken on Thursday and Friday, and as late as Saturday, if you are guaranteed to receive your results in time for check-in.” Children under the age of 12 are exempt, whilst unvaccinated guests can still bring a negative test result taken up to 72 hours prior to boarding, and must still be tested prior to stepping on board.
Explaining their decision to make such changes, Carnival’s website reads:
“In an abundance of caution and in response to the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. caused by the Delta variant, we are updating our protocols and requirements regarding pre-cruise testing for fully vaccinated guests and our onboard mask policy. We expect these measures will be temporary and will adjust our protocols based on the advice of our medical and public health advisors.”
In order to make it easier for passengers to get tested, Carnival has also revealed that it is to create mobile testing stations at each of its embarkation homeports. The testing facilities will be able to provide a result on the day of or the day before a traveler’s departure.
Whilst Carnival will be subsidising the creation of the facilities, passengers will need to pay for their tests. Carnival also adds that such facilities should be considered as a backup alternative should other avenues for testing become unavailable for passengers. More information is set to be published in due time.
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