When Carnival Cruise Line announced its recommended home test kit, it was set to make things a lot easier for guests to get their pre-cruise testing completed within the new two-day timeframe. However, a new expiry dilemma has caused some confusion.
Home Test Kit Expiry
The cruise line recently advised guests on a home testing kit by Abbot BinaxNOW, making it easier for guests to complete their pre-cruise test.
Since September 13, cruise lines have changed protocols for pre-cruise testing, which now must be taken within 48 hours before a cruise as per requirement by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As expected, many guests have already ordered the home test through the Optum Store, which costs $69.99 for a two-pack. Despite the test making things easier for guests, many are experiencing that the expiry date is only a month or so away.
It’s caused some concern and confusion, especially for those who have ordered multiple packs for upcoming cruises and flights as far as 2022. This leads to many guests contacting Carnival Cruise Line Brand Ambassador John Heald regarding their home tests expiring before their cruise.
Heald said on his popular Facebook page, “Some people have apparently been ordering home tests for Cruises later on this year and have discovered that they expire before the cruise date. Now if you order your test a month or so before your cruise then you’re going to be fine. However, I felt it best that I pass along that if you are using a home test that if you’re ordering a test now for something like December then there is a chance that the test might expire.”
With the growing concern for the expiry date, the Optum store now includes a warning which says, “Due to nationwide test supply shortages, the test you receive may expire by December 15, 2021.” And some are set to expire before that date.
The store has also updated its delivery time. Previously, the home test would be shipped on the same day, but now it could take up to three business days for delivery.
The good news is that the Abbot BinaxNOW home test has been approved for an extension to its expiry by the FDA, providing some hope for those Carnival guests who have purchased many of the home tests.
A letter from the Optum store says, “Currently, the ones we have right now expire 10/2021 but per FDAA they have been granted an expiration extension of 3 months so they are good until January 2022.”
A letter has also been published that concerns the BinaxNOW Ag Card expiry. It’s due to continued testing on the stability of the product to extend the expiration date. The results have been shared with the FDA with an expiration date of up to 12 months.
It is important to check with the store if there are any concerns about the expiry to ensure the test can still be used for an upcoming Carnival cruise. Those guests who have a closer departure should still be within the pre-expiry timeframe.
The Abbott BinaxNOW test is combined with eMed telehealth services which means a certified guide will guide a person through the test via video. Using the NAVICA app, the result will then be available within 15 minutes.
Royal Caribbean is also suggesting a home test but has gone one step further by selling its own through the Optum Store just for its guests. There has also been an update for that product when it comes to the expiry date and delivery.