Carnival Cruise Line updated its protocols on March 8, including relaxed requirements for shore excursions for unvaccinated guests. The change mainly impacts families cruising with kids limited to just the option of “bubble” tours to go ashore.
No More Carnival Bubble Tours
The cruise line has not just updated its Have Fun. Be Safe protocols on its website, but also sent communications to booked guests and travel agents regarding the changes.
Carnival has now relaxed its shore excursions restrictions effective immediately, allowing unvaccinated guests to choose any Carnival tour, rather than only a “bubble” tour. The update applies to sailings through December 31, 2022.
Carnival Cruise Line says in a letter to guests, “As the COVID-19 situation continues to improve, we are now able to relax some of the shore excursion restrictions for unvaccinated guests. Effective immediately, unvaccinated guests are not restricted to “bubble” tours (as had been required) and may now purchase from many of our Carnival shore excursion offerings (some exclusions apply).”
You can take a look at the full letter that was sent to guests on March 8:
The restrictions are not fully relaxed as unvaccinated guests will still have to book a shore excursion through the cruise line to be allowed to go ashore in port. For calls at Carnival’s private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, unvaccinated guests can go ashore on their own without booking a tour through the cruise line.
There are no restrictions for vaccinated guests, which is the majority. Guests can book tours through the cruise line and arrange their own sightseeing ashore. There is no limit, and vaccinated guests can go ashore to explore by themselves.
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All passengers must still follow any local guidance, as Carnival mentions in its protocols, “It will be necessary to follow the health protocols for every port we visit, which are under the control of local authorities and subject to change without prior notice. All guests must come prepared to follow local guidance pertaining to mask wearing, physical distancing, testing/health screenings, etc.”
Previously before the March 8 update, unvaccinated guests could only book a bubble tour through Carnival Cruise Line. These tours offered a safe environment and ensured the residents remained protected with extra protocols in place.
If guests did not comply with the rules of a bubble tour, Carnival had warned they could have been removed. Guests were not allowed to go ashore without booking a bubble tour, which was limited to a small number for each port of call.
Gradually as the COVID situation improves, the cruise line is relaxing its requirements. From March 1, Carnival removed its tightened mask policy onboard with face masks only recommended moving forward. Carnival also allowed smoking in the Casino from March for those who are only seated and playing. We could see further relaxing in the coming weeks.