Through a letter sent to guests, Carnival Cruise Line has announced plans to undertake simulated voyages later this year. This could be huge news as it would make Carnival the first cruise line to allow non-vaccinated guests onboard the ships.
Carnival Cruise Line is one of the cruise lines heavily dependent on families with children, and this is the age group that is currently not able to be vaccinated. By going the route of simulated voyages, the line opens up the entire market.
As the cruise line works together with the CDC, it has also given guests more leeway with a payment extension. This extension will give guests the chance to wait for updated regulations to be released to help make a better decision for their plans.
Differences Between July and August Cruises
In an email sent to booked guests, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy mentions the cruise line is working together with the CDC to implement the much-discussed simulated or test voyages.
Vessels that sail with 95% of the guests and 98% of the crew vaccinated do not have to undertake test sailings. Vessels that want to give guests a chance to sail without being vaccinated will need to make test sailings.
Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy:
“Among the CDC requirements we are working to implement is the operation of simulated cruises to test our protocols. This will allow us more flexibility to allow unvaccinated children to sail, among other key procedures.”
Christine Duffy has always been relatively straightforward in her comments about not restricting guests with or without vaccinations. However, the cruise line also revealed it would require guests to be vaccinated on their Alaska cruises onboard Carnival Miracle in July.
It seems now the cruise line intends to use July to perform test cruises, which will allow the line to sail with non-vaccinated guests and children in August. This opens up the critical summer vacation period.
While nothing is certain, it means guests booked on cruises in August will now be in limbo whether or not vaccinations are necessary. Reason for Carnival Cruise Line to give guests more flexibility with payments.
Flexible Payment Terms for August Sailings
Carnival Cruise line understands the uncertain situation the news brings to many guests who have booked the August cruises.
The health standards onboard and a vaccine mandate have been widely discussed online and throughout various news media. This is why the cruise line has now implemented the following flexible payment terms excluding for Carnival Vista, Horizon, Miracle, and Breeze:
- Final payments due in May have been extended until June 14.
- You may cancel without penalty by June 14 and receive a full refund.
- If you booked a refundable fare with final payment due after June 14, you have until that later date to cancel for refund, consistent with your original fare rules.
- If you exercise your ability to cancel without penalty under these flexible rules, you will not be eligible for any offer made to guests should the sailing ultimately be canceled.
By June 14, the cruise line says it hopes to give guests more clarity while the line finalizes sailing schedules for August and works with the CDC.
Guests should be prepared for the fact that the Have Fun. Be Safe protocols the line is implementing may differ slightly for August from those in effect in July, as those procedures continue to evolve.
The cruise line will have to go through a large number of procedures and paperwork to be allowed to sail with non-vaccinated guests.
Worth Reading: CDC Updates Cruise Ship Guidance for Face Masks and Ports
Not only will the simulated voyages be something that the line will have to work through, the current onboard measures for social distancing, wearing of masks, and other COVID-19 related health measures are far more strict for these voyages than for cruises with vaccinated guests—something the cruise line will likely want to see some changes in.
Nonetheless, it will be seen as welcome and hopeful news by the many families that saw their cruise plans fall in the water this year. Many cruise lines are sailing only under the 95% / 98% percent rules and regulations, so Carnival’s plans could be welcome news indeed.