Carnival Cruise Line’s President Christine Duffy sent out a letter updating guests on extending the health and safety guidelines and the much-discussed vaccine exemption policy.
With the CDC and FDA approving vaccinations for 5-11-year-olds and the cruise line extending its protocols until March at a minimum, Carnival opened exemption requests for cruises in the first three months of 2022. However, the cruise line is finding less and less space for unvaccinated kids and adults.
The vaccine exemption policy for children and those unable to get vaccinated is now open for cruises through March 2022, after the cruise line closed the exemption requests in early October of this year, as it awaited the decisions from the CDC and FDA on vaccinations for children.
Although guests can now make requests for exemptions once again, the cruise line says it is unable to approve the number of exemptions that have been requested, the letter says:
“We are opening the exemption process for cruises through March 2022. Given our experience with sailings in previous months, the number of exemptions we have been able to grant is far fewer than the requests we received.“
Carnival Cruise Line is one of the few cruise lines that operates an exemption to the vaccine policy. The reason being that the cruise line sails under the CDC’s rules for vaccinated cruises.
Competitor Royal Caribbean sails under the CDC’s rules for unvaccinated cruises, and therefore does not have to comply with the 95% rule. This rule states that if there are, for example, 1,000 guests on board, only 50 can be unvaccinated.
“Prior to approving exemptions, we must confirm the total number of vaccinated guests we have on each sailing to determine the allowable number of unvaccinated children under the age of 12,” said Duffy.
With the number of kids ordinarily sailing onboard the Carnival cruise ships, this number is easily reached. It could mean that an entire family is unable to sail if they do not get the exemption for one of their kids.
With the approval from the FDA and CDC to vaccinate children ages 5-11, Carnival Cruise Line has found itself in the position to remind guests to vaccinate their children, instead of counting on an exemption.
Christine Duffy: “While the decision to vaccinate children is obviously a personal one, if you are a family with children ages 5-11 and want to guarantee your ability to sail together, we encourage you to consider your vaccination options.”
Extending the Health Protocols Through March 2022
Carnival Cruise Line will have its entire fleet operational by the end of March next year, 2022. As the cruise line has successfully operated fully vaccinated cruises, it has extended the current onboard and pre-boarding protocols for one month through March 2022. Carnival had previously extended its protocols through February 2022.
This means that the vaccination and testing requirements will remain in place until then, at least, and for all Carnival cruise ships operational.
The letter to guests booked onboard a Carnival Cruise in the following months also said: “Last month we announced our plans to operate vaccinated voyages through February 2022 and we are writing to share that we will continue to operate with the same protocols that we’ve had in place through the end of March 2022. Our vaccinated voyages continue to operate very successfully, and our guests continue to express great satisfaction with our onboard experience, while enjoying a safe and memorable vacation.”
With more and more Caribbean destinations requiring cruise ships to sail fully vaccinated before being allowed to dock, or land guests through tenders, there is little surprise Carnival has taken the step to extend the health protocols further.