Ever-changing is the best way to describe the procedures for cruise ships visiting Europe this summer. In the last few weeks, European countries, and thus the cruise lines, have changed their requirements several times.
Carnival Cruise Line updates its current requirements for Portugal and Spain, booster requirements for particular voyages, and forms that guests will need to have filled out. While these are current, expect the protocols to change as Europe rapidly moves from ‘pandemic’ to ‘new normal.’ Carnival Cruise Line is sailing with one vessel in Europe this year, Carnival Pride.
Carnival Pride in Europe
Carnival Pride is the only Carnival cruise ship to sail in Europe this summer. The Spirit-class cruise ship will sail 18 voyages, which includes two transatlantic voyages from and to the United States.
During these voyages, the vessel will be calling in several countries, including Spain, Portugal (including the Azores), Montenegro, Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, Norway, Holland, Sweden, Finland, and more. With that many destinations, Carnival Pride passengers will need to keep in mind the different health and safety policies that are in place throughout Europe.
Those differences in policies stem from the fact that some European nations are quickly adapting to the new normal and have released all but some COVID protocols. In contrast, others have been hesitant to remove health and safety policies.
For Carnival Cruise Line, this means keeping a close eye on the proceedings in Europe and rapidly adjusting current policies.
What has changed in the last weeks?
In the last few weeks, there have been some changes of note. As Carnival’s brand ambassador, John Heald, mentions on his Facebook page, “things are very fluid when it comes to testing and Covid based protocols.”
Portugal has released many different health protocols in the last few weeks. There is no more need to use a facemask in any public areas ashore, except in hospitals and other healthcare establishments. There is no more need to download the Portuguese health App required previously by the Portuguese government.
As for Spain, guests will need to ensure that they fill in the passenger locator form before arriving at immigration in Spain. Failure to do so could result in entry to Spain being denied by the authorities.
Heald said, “As I mentioned yesterday there may be a passenger locator form that will be needed to be completed while actually on the ship. However, it is very important that every guest flying into Barcelona to board the ship has this form already completed. Failure to do so may result in the Spanish immigration authorities not allowing you in the country.”
With that, guests should also keep in mind that for the sailings on May 8, 19, and 29 from Barcelona, all guests must be fully up to date with all vaccinations, including boosters shots. This is for fully vaccinated guests who are more than six months past the last dose of their initial vaccine series.
Carnival also warns guests of the possibility during other voyages that specific destinations could define a fully vaccinated guest as one who is current with a booster shot, and boosters may be required for particular cruises based on duration.
Excursions in Europe
Guests who have booked a voyage in Europe might have noticed that not all tour options include the options that had been available in previous years. This has to do with the fact that some operators simply do not exist anymore.
Heald explains: “I totally understand your frustration but it’s not through laziness or lack of wanting to get this done that some of the ports do not have complete excursions online. It’s simply because some of the operators that we have used in past seasons in Europe have unfortunately gone out of business during COVID-19. We are working with some new operators and we have to make sure that what they are offering is the best, safe and all the other factors that we look for in excursions.”
More than likely, these excursions will become available in the next few days before Carnival Pride arrives in Barcelona on May 8.
Guests booked on a voyage to Europe onboard Carnival Pride will need to check the health requirements for entry by cruise ship with the cruise line before sailing.
Policies currently differ significantly between destinations. For example, where Spain requires a locator form and being current with vaccinations, the UK has no COVID measures in place for entry whatsoever.