Carnival Cruise Line Expands Acceptable Pre-Cruise Testing

Carnival Cruise Line will permit unmonitored self tests for unvaccinated guests on sailings shorter than 16 nights, but not for all cruises.

With travel restrictions around the world continuing to ease for different cruise destinations, Carnival Cruise Line has updated its testing protocols once again.

The new update, clarified by the cruise line’s brand ambassador John Heald, discusses the use of at-home self tests, which do not require a health professional to monitor the test and results.

Self Tests for Upcoming Cruises

All unvaccinated cruise passengers setting sail with Carnival Cruise Line on Monday, September 6, 2022 or later still need to present a negative COVID-19 test result to be cleared for embarkation, but the type of test can vary depending on the cruise destination.

For most destinations, Carnival will begin permitting guests to use self tests, which can be administered at home and do not require oversight from a doctor, pharmacist, or telehealth visit.

Carnival Cruise Line Embarkation
Photo Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Monitored tests or those done in a clinical setting are still acceptable, of course, but the option for self testing opens up more options for cruise travelers, making pre-cruise testing more convenient and less burdensome when dealing with last-minute travel preparations.

Self tests are only acceptable for sailings of 15 nights or shorter. Guests should also note that some destinations will not permit self testing.

“Certain destinations do not accept unsupervised pre-cruise self-testing, including Bermuda, Canada, Greece, and Spain,” Heald explained. “If used for visiting these destinations, self-testing must be supervised by a medical professional, or an online monitored or proctored test.”

Cruise Testing

Regardless of the type of test taken – whether a self test, a home monitored test, or a laboratory test – unvaccinated guests will be required to present their negative test results as part of embarkation. Carnival Cruise Line encourages guests to use the free VeriFLY app for a smoother and faster embarkation, but advises the printed test results can also be presented.

Prospective passengers may want to bring along printed test results even if they have used the VeriFLY app, just in case of connectivity challenges at the cruise port.

Difficult to Keep Up With Changes

It can be difficult for booked passengers to keep up with all the recent changes in testing and vaccination requirements.

These changes are being made to stay aligned with protocols from different cruise destinations, bearing in mind that a single cruise may visit several countries in one sailing – countries that could all have different health and safety guidelines.

“These changes are consistent with what local destinations have advised will be acceptable for arriving cruise guests, and we will continue to work closely with local destinations to protect the health of our guests, crew and the communities we visit,” Heald said.

Carnival Cruise Line Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

For example, Carnival Cruise Line also just changed protocols for specific sailings aboard Carnival Pride and Carnival Celebration in Europe, including the definition of fully vaccinated and what pre-cruise tests are acceptable.

Similarly, protocols were released last week for a 23-day repositioning cruise aboard Carnival Splendor, which will move the Concordia-class ship from its summer season in Alaska to Australia for the southern hemisphere summer season.

Those two regions have dramatically different protocols, and guests aboard the epic repositioning cruise need to comply with guidelines for both regions.

Guests booked on any cruise vacation for the next several weeks, whether with Carnival Cruise Line or any other cruise line, should stay in close contact with their cruise line or travel agent via email and text message so they will receive alerts about any changes to protocols for their sailing.

It is also helpful to regularly check the cruise line’s health and safety website, such as Carnival’s Have Fun. Be Safe. page to note changes as they are confirmed. It is important to be updated and accurate with pre-cruise preparations, as guests who are unable to meet the guidelines will not be permitted to board their cruise.


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