Home Travel Health Carnival Cruise Line Lifting Several COVID-Related Protocols


Carnival smoke stack
Carnival Mardi Gras cruise ship (photo by Eric Bowman)

Carnival Cruise Line announced it would adjust certain protocols to reflect the changes to reflect the lifting of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements for the cruise industry in the United States.

Starting on August 4, Carnival will no longer require pre-cruise testing for fully vaccinated guests booked on sailings with itineraries of five nights or less. The cruise line also revealed that pre-cruise testing for itineraries of six nights or longer could be conducted three days before departure.

There will also be no in-terminal testing for unvaccinated guests on the day of departure, but all unvaccinated guests ages two and older must provide proof of a negative result of a lab-administered or supervised self-administered antigen COVID test taken within three days of embarkation.

“We remain, as always, committed to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve,” a Carnival spokesperson said. “These changes will be made in phases, with the first of these updates effective on August 4 and focused on short cruise itineraries of five nights or less.”

More changes will be announced in the coming weeks and all changes are subject to any requirements of destinations on the itinerary.

On July 18, the CDC officially ended its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. This was, at least in theory, a “voluntary” program—though cruise lines couldn’t exactly decline to opt-in—which replaced the CDC’s previous Conditional Sailing Order in February.

The CDC released a new set of recommendations for the cruise industry, just days after ending the COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. While much of the new guidance is optional, the government agency still strongly recommends pre-embarkation coronavirus testing within one day of embarkation.

Several cruise lines have already announced they would no longer require guests to complete pre-cruise testing unless required by local regulations. Some cruise lines that changed their health and safety protocols include Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Virgin Voyages.

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