Carnival Cruise Line has decided to follow the voluntary program for cruise ships that has been implemented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Miami-based cruise line has also updated its protocols, including dropping its mask requirement from March.
Carnival Cruise Line Update
The CDC gave cruise lines a deadline of February 18 to opt in or out of its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, and Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed its decision. The cruise line will follow CDC guidelines within the program that applies to cruise ships operating in U.S. waters.
It will mean that Carnival ships will have to follow any CDC guidelines and not pick or choose specific recommendations. Ships will also continue to be a part of the Cruise Ship Color Status page, classifying vessels depending on the vaccinated status of sailings.
Carnival has also updated its Have Fun, Be Safe. protocols on the same day as opting into the CDC program. Booked guests have been informed of changes for upcoming cruises that could make cruising easier.
“We have had a very successful restart of guest operations thanks to the support of our guests, the commitment of our shipboard team, and the effective protocols we have put in place,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The public health situation has continued to improve, providing confidence about these changes. Our protocols will evolve as we continue to remain dedicated to protecting the public health of our guests, crew and the communities we visit.”
One of the most expected changes to the protocols is that Carnival is dropping its face mask requirement for sailings departing from March 1, 2022. However, the cruise line still strongly recommends guests wear a mask. Also, some specific venues and events may require passengers to wear a mask.
Vaccinated cruises will continue for the foreseeable future, but children under five years old will not be included in any vaccinated guest calculation. This means that those kids will not be required to receive an exemption to sail.
The CDC clarified its details on February 18, “Clarified that children under the age of 5 years will not be counted when determining the percentage of passengers on board who are fully vaccinated or up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.”
Pre-cruise testing is also to become less hassle for many guests. On sailings from March 1, 2022, guests that are fully updated with their vaccines, such as receiving their booster shot, can take a pre-cruise test within three days before sailing rather than the previous two days.
Despite the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recently calling the new CDC COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships “potentially unworkable in practice,” it now seems that major cruise lines are remaining committed to the agency to make sure guests and crew continue to remain safe.
This news comes following a relaxed smoking policy in the casino that was part of updated protocols on February 12. The cruise line is also working on bringing cheaper terminal testing for guests from $100 to $10 for select ships.