Carnival Cruise Line Releases Further Clarification on Testing

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With Carnival Cruise Line adapting to the continued spread of the COVID-19 delta variant, new requirements and guidelines were recently introduced. Since then, Carnival has released further clarification on testing to make it easier for guests planning their long-awaited cruise.

Acceptable Carnival Cruise Line COVID Tests

Planning a cruise for fully vaccinated Carnival guests has become more important than ever since the cruise line introduced new testing requirements that will be effective on cruises departing from August 14, 2021.

The cruise line already detailed that vaccinated guests will have to prove a negative test result before being allowed to cruise. Guests must arrange the testing themselves within three days prior to departure and then show proof of a negative test result at the terminal on embarkation day. Carnival has made it clear that there will be no testing provided at the terminal.

With guests making additional preparations for their cruise, Carnival Cruise Line is providing as many details as possible to help with the process. The cruise line says it doesn’t endorse any particular testing provider but makes suggestions, including testing at locations such as CVS and Walgreens. A home self-tests can also be completed but only under specific criteria as mentioned here.

Cruise Testing

Many cruisers have been wondering what type of tests are acceptable by the cruise line. As part of its Return to Service FAQs, there is a list of what’s acceptable, but it does also depend on if a guest is vaccinated or not.

Antigen tests include (acceptable for fully vaccinated guests only):

  • Rapid antigen test
  • Viral antigen test
  • Antigen Chromatographic Digital Immunoassay
  • Antigen Chemiluminescence Immunoassay
  • Antigen Lateral Flow Fluorescence

NAAT include (acceptable for vaccinated and unvaccinated guests):

  • PCR – Polymerase chain reaction
  • RT-PCR – reverse transcription real time PCR
  • Quantitative PCR (qPCR)
  • Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) test
  • Transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) test
  • Molecular test or molecular diagnostic test
  • Isothermal amplification
  • Droplet Digital PCR or digital droplet PCR (ddPCR)
  • Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)

A rapid antigen or rapid PCR test (of the test types listed above) are acceptable.

It is also important to note that the small percentage of guests who are not fully vaccinated must also show a negative test result, something that’s already been in place before the updated requirements that now include those who are fully vaccinated.

Carnival Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Marc Mayntz

Situation Remains Fluid

Carnival Cruise Line continues to adapt to the changing situation, and the new testing requirements for vaccinated guests are only currently in place until the end of October 2021. The cruise line could implement further protocols and even extend what’s currently in place, or the testing requirement could be ended before that date if the situation changes sufficiently. The most important thing is it makes sure guests and crew remain safe to stop the spread of this disease.

Despite that, new cases could still be found during testing, something that has recently occurred on the Carnival Vista. Carnival Cruise Line implemented new mask guidelines for indoor spaces across the fleet and for Carnival Vista that occurred even earlier in the interest of guests and crew safety.

The Have Fun. Be Safe page is also being updated with the latest protocols, and in recent days an important note has been added to make sure guests are aware of the new testing requirement that will go into effect from August 14, 2021.

For now, Carnival cruise ships continue to restart operations, and to date, six vessels have resumed operations, including the much anticipated Mardi Gras.

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