Carnival Cruise Line released its protocols for the new Mardi Gras cruise ship for sailings in July and August. A letter was sent out to booked guests with all the details. The Carnival flagship is scheduled to finally begin sailing with passengers on July 31 out of Port Canaveral, Florida.
Mardi Gras Protocols for July and August Sailings
The cruise line is gradually releasing more details about its restart of operations this summer, and a major part of that are the first sailings for Mardi Gras, starting on July 31, 2021. The Have Fun. Be Safe. Protocols are detailed in a letter sent to booked guests from Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy.
Guests on the July and August cruises will have to show proof in advance of boarding of full vaccination at least 14 days before departure. Fully vaccinated guests won’t have to wear a face mask or physically distance onboard the Mardi Gras. Masks will still be required in the terminal when embarking and disembarking the vessel.
Here are the full protocols at the current time but do note that this could change further as Carnival continues to make changes due to the fluid situation:
- Guests, including children who are age-eligible for vaccines, will need to be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination in advance of boarding. (As a reminder, fully vaccinated is defined as receiving the final dose of a vaccine at least 14 days before embarkation.) For your reference, any vaccine approved by either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) meets this requirement.
- According to current CDC guidelines, vaccinated guests on your sailing will not be required to wear face masks or physical distance while on board. However, masks are required at the cruise terminal during embarkation.
- Vaccinated guests may participate in Carnival-sponsored tours or independent activities. We are in the process of finalizing our tours and expect more availability to be added in the next few weeks. Please check back on Carnival.com by the end of the month.
- All guests are required to follow the protocols and requirements for each destination while ashore. These restrictions are under the control of local government and are subject to change without advance notice. We encourage you to come prepared for potential requirements ashore which may apply to health screening/testing, masks, physical distancing, organized tours/independent activities, etc.
Duffy says in the letter “We are in regular communication with the CDC requesting that more manageable guidelines be adopted, especially as it relates to families traveling with children under the age of 12 who are ineligible for vaccination. Until those guidelines are revised, our only alternative is to sail with vaccinated guests. We also continue to work with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on our plans for our Florida based ships.”
The letter goes on to detail about guests who are unable to meet the full vaccination requirement. The CDC guidelines require a more restrictive cruise experience for those not fully vaccinated. This would impact families and those under the age of 12 currently ineligible for the vaccine in the U.S.
Guests would have to have separate protocols compared to guests fully vaccinated. This includes social distancing wearing masks, and testing at the terminal. The CDC does allow for a small number of passengers to be unvaccinated as long as 95% of the guests on the voyage are fully vaccinated.
As a result, Carnival Cruise Line has launched an application process that guests can submit online as part of the exemption. This would have to be done by the end of June 25. The cruise line won’t begin to press the requests until it knows the final number of guests onboard, which will show once all final payments are complete.
Even though the state of Florida has overruled the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order, it seems cruise lines are still moving forward with their set restart plans. Carnival is also working with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to resume cruise operations safely.
Carnival has already released its protocols for Alaska and Texas sailings in July. Several changes are being made on the Carnival website, and now eight cruise ships resuming in July and August are fully vaccinated sailings.
Mardi Gras which recently arrived in the U.S. for the first time since being delivered in December 2020 and remaining on hold in Europe, will begin sailing on July 21. The LNG-powered Carnival cruise ship will offer seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.