Carnival Cruise Line has announced today, July 29, that it will be removing all pre-cruise testing requirements for vaccinated guests on short cruises of 5 nights or less, effective August 4. The cruise line will be introducing further changes in phases.
Carnival will also be changing the amount of time that guests will need to be tested on cruises longer than five nights, and has introduced far less stringent measures for unvaccinated guests.
Carnival Cruise Line Introduces New Testing Requirements
With most major cruise lines having already introduced changes to their testing requirements following the end of the CDC requirements for the cruise industry, many people were waiting to see what Carnival Cruise Line would be doing.
Carnival announced a series of changes that will be introduced in the coming weeks and months. The most crucial difference is that guests will no longer need to be tested if they are sailing on short cruise itineraries of 5 nights or less, effective on and after August 4, 2022.
The policy change has been long coming from the cruise line, which said only recently it would not be making any sudden changes following the end of the CDC’s voluntary program for cruise ships. However, with Royal Caribbean making significant changes to their policies on July 28, Carnival Cruise Line could not stay behind.
In a statement posted on the Carnival Cruise Line website, the company said the following: “Carnival Cruise Line is pleased to announce that we are adjusting certain protocols to reflect the lifting of CDC requirements for the US cruise industry. We remain, as always, committed to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve.”
“These changes will be made in phases, with the first of these updates effective on Thursday, August 4, 2022, and focused on short cruise itineraries of 5 nights or less. More changes will be announced shortly, and all changes are subject to any requirements of destinations on the itinerary.”
Carnival’s New Testing Policies Explained
Effective on August 4, guests sailing on cruises of five nights or less will not need to undergo testing before the cruise, as long as they have been fully vaccinated.
Guests sailing on cruises of six nights and longer will still need to undergo testing, but Carnival Cruise Line has extended the timeline in which this needs to be done to three days before the cruise departure.
There will be no more in-terminal testing for guests who have not been fully vaccinated. Still, all unvaccinated guests, age two and older, must provide proof of a negative result of a lab-administered or supervised self-administered antigen COVID test taken within three days before embarkation.
This means guests no longer need to provide a negative PCR test; instead, an antigen test will be sufficient. This change will make a huge impact on families traveling with unvaccinated children, in particular, due to the expensive nature of PCR testing.
The cruise line also speaks about introducing further changes in the future. This could mean that the cruise line would be thinking of dropping all testing requirements and possibly even the vaccine mandates.
While that may seem farfetched, Royal Caribbean insinuated the same yesterday, saying it was working towards a plan where all guests would be able to sail.
No matter what the future brings, the protocol changes introduced will be welcomed by the thousands of guests that sail onboard the Carnival cruise ships every week but who had to deal with the stress of finding and undergoing a suitable test only two days before sailing.