Many Canadians eagerly await the day that they step on board a cruise ship once again. With a cruise ban in Canada in place until November 1 of this year, one of the options is cruising from the US or the Caribbean. However, there has been some confusion regarding the vaccine mandates and travel requirements for Canadians to the US who received mixed vaccines.
Carnival Cruise Line has now sent a letter to Canadian guests to clarify the matter and in detail line out what is required of them to take a relaxing cruise vacation.
CDC Does Not Accept Mixed Vaccines
Not just Canada, but many more countries worldwide have started giving people mixed vaccines; this would include someone who got a shot of AstraZeneca and a shot of Pfizer or Moderna. Carnival Cruise Line now states that the CDC has advised this combination does not make someone fully vaccinated.
It will leave many Canadians frustrated as they were advised by their National Advisory Committee on Immunization that mixing vaccines was not only acceptable; the board even recommended mixing viral vector vaccines like AstraZeneca and mRNA vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer.
Carnival Cruise Line requires the majority of its guests to be fully vaccinated 14-days before they board the vessel. However, there is space for some guests, including minors, who have not been vaccinated.
In this case, these guests should be applying for an exemption of the vaccination mandate. Guests can do this through their travel advisor or through 1-800-CARNIVAL if guests are sailing from Seattle. Or, through a dedicated link sent to Canadian guests if their cruise departs from Texas or Florida. Carnival does warn that not all guests will be accepted as unvaccinated guests, as this depends on the vaccinated versus unvaccinated guest ratio.
What Are the Consequences of Sailing as Unvaccinated Guests on Carnival Cruise Line?
When guests are accepted to sail as unvaccinated passengers onboard the Carnival ships, there are quite some measures and protocols. First of all, guests will need to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test when checking in, which should be taken within 72 hours before sailing; they will need to take an antigen test at embarkation and test again within 24 hours of debarkation on all cruises longer than four days. All these tests will be for the account of the guest, a combined amount of $150.
These guests will also not be allowed to partake in any independent sightseeing in ports of calls, although Carnival has sponsored bubble tours. Youth programs will not be available to unvaccinated youngsters and teenagers. Mask wearing will be mandatory.
From August 1, guests are also required to show proof of extensive travel and repatriation insurance. How long these measures will stay in place for unvaccinated guests and those Canadian guests that have gotten mixed vaccinations remains to be seen. However, Carnival’s president remains optimistic they will be changing at some point:
Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line:
“We recognize that unvaccinated guests will face temporary restrictions during the initial phase of our restart, along with additional costs for testing and insurance, and are optimistic these protocols will continue to evolve over time.”
Not only this, the Canadian Government still advises Canadians to avoid cruise ship travel, on the Government travel advisory website it states:
- you could be subject to quarantine procedures onboard ship or in a foreign country
- the range of consular services available to those on cruise ships may be significantly restricted by local authorities, especially in situations of quarantine
- it is unlikely that there would be a government-organized repatriation flight to return to Canada
Canadians who do decide to take a cruise and do end up positive will likely be receiving very little help from their government. On top of that, positive guests will have to quarantine on location and before returning to Canada on their own cost.
What Are the Other Cruise Lines Saying?
Carnival does not stand alone in the requirements for those passengers who received mixed vaccines. Recently Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line stated the same for cruises from the United States, saying they would follow the CDC’s guidance.
For cruises in other parts of the world where mixing vaccines is a relatively standard practice like the UK and the Mediterranean, mixed vaccines are allowed, and guests are considered fully vaccinated. Meaning, a Canadian guest on a Carnival Cruise from Florida would be unvaccinated, while that same guest onboard a Celebrity cruise in the Mediterranean would be considered fully vaccinated.