Carnival Cruise Line Provides Home Test Kit Option

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The CDC’s recent update that guests must be tested two days before the start of their cruise has shown how difficult it can be to get tested in time for a cruise. Many guests report problems now when the guideline is still three days out. This will only increase on September 13, when almost all cruise lines will move to the two-day test protocol.

For this reason, Carnival Cruise Line has now introduced the possibility to do a home test which is still medically supervised. This is done through a personal virtual visit with an eMed Certified Guide who monitors you while performing the testing procedures.

The introduction of home testing will be a relief for those that have a cruise coming up, while Carnival is also working on mobile test sites at departure ports.

The home tests, which have now been approved by the CDC and by Carnival Cruise Line as a valid COVID-19 rapid test, are relatively easy to do. For those with regular flights or cruises, it will relieve a lot of the hassle that comes with constant testing.

Abbott BinaxNOW With eMed
Abbott BinaxNOW With eMed

The test, which costs $69.99 online, includes a personal virtual visit from an eMed Certified Guide who will help you perform all the steps to properly administer the test and figure as the third-party medical verification. The steps include:

  • Order the kit online and complete the questionnaire on the website
  • The test will be sent to your home; visit the website at to go to your virtual visit.
  • The eMed Certified Guide will join you via video connection and guide you through the process. The sample is collected by using a cotton swab inside the nose.
  • Once the test is complete, the test result will be emailed to you by eMed; this comes with a certified digital certificate.

The tests are available for guests aged four and up. For the guests that will be sailing on a Carnival cruise, it means those aged 12 and up will be able to use this testing requirement as those aged 2-11 will need to get a PCR-RT test three days before sailing.

Carnival Cruise Line Suggested Home Test
Carnival Cruise Line Suggested Abbott BinaxNOW Home Test

Also Read: Royal Caribbean Makes it Easier to Get Tested Before a Cruise

Mobile Testing at Homeports in the Works

Besides the home testing through eMed and testing at licensed test centers, another option could be available to guests sailing on Carnival cruises. The cruise line has stated on its website it is working on a mobile testing option at the ports Carnival uses as homeport:

“We realize some of our guests are having a challenge getting a pre-cruise COVID-19 test, especially with the new two-day window established by the CDC that goes into effect on September 13, 2021. We are working to set up mobile testing sites at all our embarkation homeports to conduct a rapid test the day before or day of your departure.”

Carnival Cruise Ships in Miami
Photo Credit: pisaphotography /

When the mobile testing sites will be operational is unclear at this time due to the complex arrangements, the cruise line does say that the testing will not be free:

“Carnival will be subsidizing the infrastructure of the mobile testing sites, but the company providing the testing will charge a per-person fee (to be established). Providers will not accept insurance, but you will be provided a receipt should you wish to submit the cost to your insurance carrier.”

Carnival does warn that the mobile sites are not an alternative to the home testing or the testing at certified test centers. These options should be the first choice; the mobile test center can be used if guests have no other options. The testing area will likely be located adjacent, or within walking distance of the departure terminal.

Getting tested and making the necessary arrangements is proving to be a complex issue. The CDC issued the requirement to be tested within two days in an update on August 27 to the Conditional Sailing Order, and this will go into effect from September 13, 2021.

At least with more options becoming available to guests, such as the home tests and the mobile sites, guests can breathe a little easier in the knowledge options are available. And as John Heald says on his Facebook page: “The reward of a massive dollop of FUN is waiting for you.”

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