Carnival Cruise Line is taking the spread of the Omicron variant seriously as protocols have already been adjusted. For the crew, there is also a change with most crew member sign-offs and sign-ons being paused for one month, resulting in crew members having to remain on the ship longer, or at home.
Carnival Crew Member Sign-Offs and Sign-Ons on Hold
Following several changes to keep guests safe from the spreading Omicron, Carnival Cruise Line is also making a change for the crew members. Crew members who have a scheduled date coming up to join or leave a ship are informed that most January sign-offs and sign-ons will remain on hold for one month.
In a letter to crew members, Carnival says, “As we manage through the evolving nature of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, new travel restrictions and other factors related to our operation, we have made the difficult decision to delay most of the January sign-offs and sign-ons for one month – into February 2022.”
It does mean that those crew members who were planning on joining a Carnival ship to begin their contracts and crew scheduled to end their contract to head home in January will have to wait until February. However, in the letter’s wording, it does seem that a small number of crew members will still be able to begin or end their assignments.
“Therefore, your current assignment and existing contract will be extended one month into February. We will be making new travel arrangements for your return home after the holidays, but in the meantime, we appreciate your support of this decision.”
For the crew who have already been working aboard for many months, there is no doubt it’s a major disappointment, especially for team members looking to head home for Christmas and New Year.
It comes as Carnival deals with travel restrictions and the evolving situation with the new variant. Some ports in the Caribbean have already started refusing cruise ships with cases on board, and countries worldwide are tightening requirements. Trying to get crew members to and from their ship assignments is undoubtedly proving to be complicated.
The cruise line has already increased its protocols to keep everyone on board protected, including masks now being required indoors at all times except for eating and drinking and outdoors when large gatherings or social distancing cannot be maintained. Smoking in the casino has been banned too.
Carnival Cruise Line has been working to ensure the crew has a great holiday season after a challenging time during the suspension of operations through 2020 and much of 2021. The cruise line received more than 38,509 Christmas cards to hand out to the crew across the fleet as part of its Operation Happy Holidays, which was launched in November.
The cruise line will also be putting on a Christmas dinner to remember on December 25, which crew members can enjoy in their dining rooms in the crew-only areas.