Carnival Cruise Line has reached out to booked guests to notify them of a change in vaccination requirements for one of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean. As of April 1, 2023, Grand Turk will no longer require guests to be vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to visiting.
Grand Turk Drops Vaccination Requirement
Carnival Cruise Line has emailed guests an update on Grand Turk, noting the removal of the island’s vaccination requirement. This will be amazing news for cruise travelers planning to visit the popular destination through the busy spring and summer sailing period.
“We continue to work with our destination partners and are pleased to let you know health officials in Grand Turk have just informed us that effective April 1, 2023, all guests, irrespective of vaccination status, are now permitted to go ashore to enjoy one of our tours or independent sightseeing,” the email reads.
The first Carnival cruise ship to enjoy the removal of the vaccination requirement will be Carnival Freedom, when the ship visits Grand Turk on Tuesday, April 4, as part of a 5-night Eastern Caribbean sailing from Port Canaveral.
Carnival Freedom was also one of the first vessels to begin sailing to Grand Turk when the island reopened in December 2021 after the industry shutdown.
Following on Wednesday, April 5 will be both Carnival Legend and Carnival Magic, while Carnival Spirit will be visiting Grand Turk on Thursday, April 6. Carnival Sunrise and Mardi Gras also have multiple calls planned in Grand Turk during April.
Even more ships will follow through May and into the summer months, including the new Carnival Venezia in June, making this news very welcome indeed for cruise travelers.
Health Protocols in Grand Turk
The largest island in the Turks Islands of the Turks and Caicos, Grand Turk has a population of just 4,831 residents – smaller than the passenger complement of some cruise ships.
Carnival’s Excel-class Mardi Gras, for example, can welcome 5,282 guests at double occupancy, and up to 6,465 passengers when fully booked. On Wednesday, April 5, 2023, when both Carnival Legend and Carnival Magic are in port, more than 7,300 guests may be visiting at once.
This has been a factor in the island remaining strict on health and safety protocols even long after other destinations have dropped not only pre-visit testing and vaccination requirements, but other pandemic-related initiatives such as face coverings, required travel insurance, and quarantine periods.
Grand Turk dropped the requirements for pre-visit testing, travel insurance, and authorization forms from May 1, 2022. Now, 11 months later, the last requirement – full vaccination – will end.
Grand Turk is one of the most popular ports in the Caribbean, welcoming nearly one million cruise guests each year. This easing of the final restriction will open the island up for many visitors once again.
Travelers should note that any cruise destination or cruise line can always reinstitute health and safety protocols if such measure are warranted, and guests are always urged to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves when visiting any port of call or enjoying time onboard a cruise ship.
Other Impacted Cruise Lines
While Grand Turk is primarily visited by Carnival cruise ships, other vessels in the Carnival Corporation family also occasionally call on the island, including ships from Princess Cruises and Holland America Line.
In fact, Nieuw Statendam will be the first ship to visit the island in April without the vaccination requirement, calling on the port on Monday, April 3. Regal Princess will join Carnival Freedom the next day.