Another Carnival Cruise Brand Removes The Vaccine Requirement

Carnival's ultra-luxury cruise brand Seabourn drops the vaccine requirement for most sailings and eliminates testing.

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Carnival Corporation’s luxury cruise operator Seabourn has removed the vaccine requirements for most voyages onboard the six ships in the fleet. The cruise line will also be easing testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers. The new procedures for cruises under 16 nights will be effective starting September 6. 

The steps taken by Seabourn follow similar moves by other cruise lines under the Carnival Corporation group of cruise brands, such as Carnival Cruise Line, Princess, Holland America, and others, which all changed their protocols in the last week. 

Seabourn Eases Health and Safety Requirements

Starting September 6, Seabourn will simplify the health and safety requirements for guests onboard one of the company’s six ultra-Luxury cruise ships. 

For most cruises under 16 nights, fully vaccinated guests will no longer need to submit a pre-cruise test. Unvaccinated guests are welcomed aboard, but must provide results of a negative medically supervised or self-test taken within three days of embarkation.

Seabourn Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: GEORGE STAMATIS / Shutterstock.com

“Our goal is to offer a luxury vacation experience that is unmatched in quality, safety, and joy,” said Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn. “These updated guidelines reflect our ongoing commitment to protecting our guests, the people in the communities we touch and serve, and our shipboard and shoreside employees. We look forward to welcoming all guests on board and delivering unforgettable Seabourn Moments.”

For voyages that are 16 nights in length or longer, vaccinated guests must still submit a medically supervised COVID-19 test with a written negative result. This test must be taken within three days of embarkation. 

Unvaccinated guests cannot sail on these longer cruises. Guests must either be vaccinated or can try to request an exemption from Seabourn.

Which Cruises Are Included?

While the new protocols seem to cover the majority of cruises onboard the Seabourn ships, some exceptions have been introduced. 

The new protocols do not apply to itineraries for countries where local regulations require vaccinations or testing, such as sailings to and from Canada, Greece, and Australia.

Exceptions are also in place for cruises with a unique, more high-risk character, such as Panama Canal transits, transatlantic cruises, and designated remote voyages. 

This will likely affect cruises onboard the cruise line’s newest ship, Seabourn Venture. This ship, which sailed on her maiden voyage last month, operates in some of the most remote areas of our planet.

Cruise Lines Changing Protocols

In July, the CDC dropped all requirements for cruise ships regarding testing for COVID-19 and vaccine mandates that were in place onboard. Although the cruise industry could have changed protocols immediately after this, many waited to see how the situation would evolve and who would take the first step to drop protocols.

In the last two weeks, most cruise lines felt the time was right to make significant changes. This meant changing testing protocols, or as is the case with Seabourn Cruise Line, even letting go of vaccine mandates.

CDC Sign
Photo Credit: University of College / Shutterstock

That being said, the situation is far from back to normal. It could very well be that an increase in cases will lead cruise lines to reinstate vaccination mandates on shorter cruises and demand a stricter testing regime. 

Those that have waited for many months to sail again will need to keep a close eye on how cases evolve during the autumn. If there is a significant rise in cases ashore or onboard cruise ships, enquire about what the cruise line intends to do. 

The possibility of a canceled cruise is still very much a real possibility, despite the positive news from the last months.  

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