Carnival Cruise Line Clarifies Which Sailings Require Testing

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With more and more cruise lines gradually eliminating pre-cruise COVID-19 testing for shorter voyages, it can be confusing which sailings still do require tests not because of the voyage length, but because of the ports that will be visited.

Carnival Cruise Line has clarified which sailings, even short ones, that still require all guests to have a negative test result before embarkation.

In a post to his Facebook page, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald has clarified that all guests, regardless of vaccination status, must still have a negative pre-cruise COVID-19 test prior to sailing to some destinations, no matter what the length of the cruise.

“I am here to help as many of you as I can and of course the fluid situation we in the cruise industry find ourselves in was made very obvious again last night with the latest news on testing,” Heald said, referencing that different cruise lines do have different requirements.

Heald went on to simplify Carnival Cruise Line’s testing requirements, stating that testing is still required for all passengers on all cruises, regardless of length, that call on any ports in Bermuda, The Bahamas, or Grand Cayman.

Carnival Cruise Ships in Grand Cayman
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

To be clear, cruises sailing to Kings Wharf (Bermuda) as well as George Town (Grand Cayman), still require pre-cruise testing.

Similarly, all cruises to any port of call in The Bahamas – Nassau, Freeport, Bimini, and even the cruise line’s private island destinations, Half Moon Cay or Princess Cays – require that all passengers have a negative test result before embarkation.

It does not matter if the cruise has other ports of call on its itinerary; if the sailing visits any of the ports listed above, tests are still required at this time.

This clarification comes just days before Carnival Cruise Line’s new testing protocols go into effect on August 4, which state that testing is no longer required for fully vaccinated guests on cruises of five days or less.

Guests booked on short sailings should not, however, that the updated protocols do clearly state that the requirements apply “except where destination requirements differ” – a distinction that is made several times on the cruise line’s Have Fun. Be Safe. protocols page.

“I know this is disappointing news,” Heald said. “This was of course not what we wanted but proof again that we have to abide by the ever changing rules and requirements of the places we visit.”

On all cruises of six nights or longer, pre-cruise tests are still required for all passengers regardless of ports of call, embarkation port, or vaccination status.

Short Sailings That Do NOT Require Testing

This clarification may be disappointing to a number of guests booked on short 3-4 night sailings, as many of those cruises sail solely to The Bahamas. Because of the destination requirements, those cruises still require a pre-cruise test.

Carnival Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Russell Otway

There are several Carnival cruise options coming in the next few weeks that will not require testing for vaccinated guests, however, such as:

  • 5-night Western Caribbean sailings from New Orleans aboard Carnival Valor, Mobile on Carnival Ecstasy, or Galveston on Carnival Breeze that call on Cozumel and Progreso or Costa Maya, Mexico
  • 5-night Western Caribbean sailings from Tampa on Carnival Paradise visiting Mahogany Bay, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico
  • 5-night Western Caribbean sailings from Port Canaveral aboard Carnival Freedom visiting Amber Cove and Grand Turk
  • 4-night Baja Mexico itineraries from Long Beach aboard Carnival Radiance visiting Ensenada and Catalina
  • 3-4-night Baja Mexico cruises from San Francisco aboard Carnival Miracle or from Long Beach aboard Carnival Radiance calling only on Ensenada, Mexico
  • 4-night Western Caribbean sailings from New Orleans aboard Carnival Valor or from Tampa aboard Carnival Paradise, only visiting Cozumel, Mexico
  • 4-night Western Caribbean voyages from Miami aboard Carnival Conquest or Carnival Sunrise that visit Key West and Cozumel

These short itineraries still offer guests a variety of cruise vacation options on many different Fun Ships if they prefer not to test before sailing.

Testing Guidelines Changing on Other Cruise Lines

While several other cruise lines have also begun to drop pre-cruise testing requirements for shorter sailings, including MSC Cruises (sailings from August 8) as well as Royal Caribbean International and its sister lines, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea (sailings from August 8), testing remains in place for most longer itineraries.

Guests booked on any upcoming cruises should stay in close contact with their cruise line as their embarkation date approaches, as protocols are likely to continue to evolve and testing requirements may continue to change on short notice at scheduled ports of call.

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