Two of the world’s largest cruise lines, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line, have each made the decision to ease various testing requirements and restrictions for sailings. The cruise industry has been through significant upheaval throughout the course of the pandemic, with their entry requirements, rules and restrictions changing several times as businesses fought to keep cruises open for business and safe for all travelers. However, following the CDC’s decision to drop its cruise program earlier this month, restrictions have been to ease once more.
The next steps towards normality, the two cruise giants’ decisions to ease their testing requirements are set to be welcomed by travelers and could help to make cruises more popular than ever in the coming months – particularly as air travel remains a mess at present. Here’s everything you need to know about the changes being made by Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line, plus a look at recent changes made by other cruise lines.
Royal Caribbean Requirements Changes – Information For Travelers
Royal Caribbean’s recently announced changes to its entry requirements are set to make sailing much more inclusive than it has been at any other point during the months of the pandemic. The cruise line giants – home to the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, are set to change the rules so that unvaccinated guests of any age are allowed to partake in their cruises once more for the first time during the pandemic, putting cruise trips back on the map for millions of potential passengers.
Unvaccinated cruise passengers will be permitted to sail on Royal Caribbean cruises once more, providing that they take a Covid-19 test within 3 days of the cruise’s departure. The change is set to go live from August 8th, and will apply to all unvaccinated travelers – not just those under 12 as the previous rules decreed. Whilst exact details, such as the type of test and specific, destination-related requirements are yet to be confirmed, the cruise line announced they will be releasing more details on August 1st.
It’s not just good news for unvaccinated cruise guests either – vaccinated travelers have also been given something to celebrate recently too. Until now, vaccinated guests were required to take a PCR or rapid antigen test up to 2 days before sailing. However, starting from August 8th, cruise guests who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will no longer need to take a pre-departure test if their cruise is fewer than six nights long. The policy change is another great leap back towards business as usual, as cruise lines across the country take a measured approach to repealing their Covid-19 related restrictions.
Carnival Cruise Changes – What Travelers Should Know
Much like Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines have also made changes to the testing requirements, making sailing a more attractive proposition to the masses. The company announced that from August 4th, they will be removing all pre-cruise testing requirements for fully vaccinated guests on short cruises of 5 nights or less. The cruise line also added that they would be introducing further changes in the future, giving hope to the idea that all Covid-19 era policies would soon be phased out.
Carnival also changed testing requirements for cruises that are bound to make sailing easier for unvaccinated guests. Previously, unvaccinated passengers were required to take a PCR two days prior to embarkation. However, this is no longer the case. Now, unvaccinated guests can take either a PCR or antigen test up to three days before embarkation – giving them a more comfortable window to get tested in and saving them some money at the same time.
Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line aren’t the only cruise lines to make changes recently. Virgin Voyages have also gotten in on the act, removing pre-embarkation testing for EU cruises on July 24th, and from July 27th on U.S. based trips, as well as dropping their vaccinated passengers quota to 90% from 100%. With the CDC no longer controlling the policies of cruise lines, we’re expecting to see even more changes coming over the next few months.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com