As expected, Carnival Cruise Line made an announcement regarding its protocols on Friday afternoon, and the big change is that nothing is changed! The current protocols are to remain in place for the foreseeable future. The Miami-based cruise line also detailed new enhancements for embarkations.
Carnival Cruise Line Protocols
With the CDC’s Conditional Sailing order now at an end and the agency shifting to a voluntary program that cruise lines can choose to opt-in to, it’s now up to the cruise lines to decide for themselves what to do moving forward.
Since the CDC order ended, many cruisers had been asking what Carnival would do next, well – the answer is nothing. As of January 21, 2022, the cruise line will continue its current Have Fun. be Safe. protocols for the foreseeable future. There is no set end date for when the protocols could end.
Does it come as a surprise? Not really. When the CDC announced it would be withdrawing the Conditional Sail Order as a mandatory step for cruise lines, the expectation was that most, if not all, cruise lines would continue to follow the lines set out by the agency. It means for those booked onboard a Carnival Cruise that the health protocols as they are now will remain.
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The cruise line will continue sailing vaccinated voyages only, requiring guests to be tested before embarking on the ship, and mask requirements will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Carnival did say that booster shots are not a requirement to sail at this time:
“We are encouraging boosters as all the evidence suggests it makes a massive difference in symptoms if one tests positive. While not required it may eventually become part of the definition of fully vaccinated. So while we are not requiring them we highly recommend them,” according to Brand Ambassador John Heald.
The brand ambassador also mentioned that smoking would not be permitted in the casinos for the time being. However, they will be looking at implementing smoking again as soon as possible. This will likely not be until the mask mandate is relaxed throughout the ships.
Carnival to Offer $10 Pre-Cruise Testing
Carnival did announce it would be expanding on its testing capabilities before the start of the voyage, at significantly lower prices than what has been on offer elsewhere. Currently, the cruise line has a limited capacity for guests to test before sailing, and only if they could not get a test beforehand.
The new procedure will enable guests on short 3- and 4-day itineraries to get tested as part of the embarkation process: “Vaccinated guests will be able to meet the pre-cruise testing requirement as part of the embarkation process for a cost of $10 per test. Pre-registration is required, and there will be some capacity limits, but it is our intention to make this discounted, convenient testing available to as many guests as possible.”
This process will likely make the embarkation process and the days leading up to the cruise easier for guests, and Carnival is working on even more methods to make embarkation more streamlined.
Carnival Testing Pre-Cruise Test Upload
Several airlines have been using a new system that enables guests to upload their negative test results and other COVID-related info before their flight. The VeriFLY by Daon system will be tested for guests onboard Carnival’s mega-ship Mardi Gras this Saturday, January 22. Carnival can then verify the tests before the cruise and allow a much faster embarkation process.
The company said the following in a press release: “We are piloting a program on select Mardi Gras sailings using VeriFLY, a secure, free digital health application that allows vaccinated guests the ability to easily upload required pre-embarkation information, like their vaccine attestation, proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test results, and their health assessment.“
Should the process work well for guests sailing on Mardi Gras, the cruise line will be rolling out this system across its fleet, making it the biggest cruise line in the US to operate with the VeriFLY system.