Carnival Cruise Line Provides Protocols for Longer Panama Sailing

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Carnival Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked aboard the April 17 sailing of Carnival Spirit to be sure everyone fully understands the protocols related to vaccination requirements and pre-cruise testing.

Booster shots are required for this longer cruise, and all guests will be tested at the pier prior to embarkation, in addition to the pre-cruise test guests must take no sooner than three days before departure.

Booster Shots Required for Carnival Spirit Repositioning Cruise

The upcoming 16-night sailing from Miami to Seattle is a fully vaccinated and boosted cruise for the 88,500-gross ton Carnival Spirit. All guests ages 12 and up must receive their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to embarkation, not including embarkation day itself.

Furthermore, all guests who are more than six months past the final dose of their initial vaccine series must also receive a COVID-19 booster prior to setting sail.

Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: gary yim / Shutterstock

The email states, “Proof of vaccination and booster (if eligible) will be required at check-in. Guests who do not meet all requirements will be denied boarding and no refund will be provided.”

Because there is no waiting period after receiving a booster shot to be considered up-to-date on vaccination, guests still have several days to get a booster shot before setting sail.

Guest were notified of the booster shot requirement for this cruise in mid-March, and this reminder email is reinforcing that requirement.

Embarkation Testing for All Guests

While pre-cruise testing is standard for all cruise lines at this time, guests on this Carnival Spirit sailing are required to take two tests.

The first is the same pre-cruise test all passengers must take, within three days of embarkation (two days prior to embarkation if guests are not eligible for a booster shot).

The second test, however, will be administered at the pier during embarkation for all guests ages 2 and older. Guests must pre-register for the pier test in order to facilitate a smooth and trouble-free embarkation.

The test administered at the pier will be paid for by Carnival Cruise Line, but guests are responsible for any costs associated with their first pre-cruise test.

Carnival Spirit New Livery
Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

Testing will occur during guests’ selected Arrival Appointments, and results will be emailed approximately 20 minutes after testing. If guests arrive at PortMiami early, they will not be tested and will instead be asked to return during their scheduled appointment.

If guests test positive at the pier, they will be denied boarding and will be responsible for any local expenses related to potential quarantine requirements. Carnival Cruise Line will attempt to retrieve any checked bags prior to the ship’s departure, but guests are advised to keep travel documents, medications, and valuables in hand luggage to carry onboard the ship.

While the notification email does not mention refunds in case a guest does test positive at the pier, Carnival Cruise Line’s Have Fun. Be Safe. protocols outline the following:

“If you, your family members, travelling companions or other close contacts are denied embarkation or reboarding, or quarantined or disembarked during the voyage, due to a positive COVID-19 test or being suspected of having COVID-19, you and they are entitled to a [Future Cruise Credit] FCC for the amount paid to Carnival in the event of denial at embarkation, or a pro-rated refund of the unused portion of your cruise fare in all other cases.”

Guests who do not comply with COVID-19 protocols, however, will not receive a refund, FCC, or any other compensation.

Why the Strict Protocols?

These stricter protocols with booster requirements and multiple pre-embarkation tests are in line with other cruise line’s health and safety protocols for longer sailings, especially when cruise ships are changing homeports or visiting ports of call with stricter local requirements.

Carnival Spirit in Alaska
Photo Credit: KaryBntz / Shutterstock

For example, Celebrity Cruises has tighter-than-normal protocols for its five Transatlantic sailings this month, with extra tests that may be required during the cruise for guests who have not received a booster shot.

On this repositioning cruise, Carnival Spirit will be calling on Ocho Rios, Cartagena, Puntarenas, and Cabo San Lucas, before arriving in Seattle on May 3.

While pandemic restrictions continue to ease in some areas as case numbers and hospitalization decline, other regions are seeing slight increases in infection rates. Every cruise port and destination will adjust its mandates and guidelines to safeguard its residents, and cruise lines are actively monitoring situations around the world to remain in compliance with those guidelines.

At this time, all cruise passengers – no matter where or when they may be sailing – should stay alert to protocol changes and updates so they are properly prepared for a safe, healthy cruise vacation.

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