Nine Popular Questions on Carnival Cruise Line Resuming Operations

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Carnival’s cruise ships will finally start sailing this July 3 after being banned from sailing for 15 months. After all the changes in rules, protocols, and requirements, we look at what is required of guests sailing onboard the Carnival ships this summer and what Carnival has done to keep everyone safe.

1. Will All Guests Be Vaccinated On Board?

Yes, Carnival Cruise Line requires all guests to be fully vaccinated onboard. The cruise line has made this mandatory to offer guests virtually the same experience as pre-pandemic.

Carnival’s decision would put it firmly at odds with Governor Ron DeSantis’ order and a recently passed Florida law prohibiting proof of vaccine requirements. That being said, the cruise line has been working with the state of Florida on resuming cruise operations. Currently, here are the ships we know that are restarting through July and August with all cruises for vaccinated guests:

  • Carnival Miracle sailing from Seattle; July 27 through September 14, 2021
  • Carnival Vista sailing from Galveston starting July 3, 2021
  • Carnival Horizon sailing from Miami starting July 4, 2021
  • Carnival Breeze sailing from Galveston starting July 15, 2021
  • Mardi Gras sailing from Port Canaveral starting July 31, 2021
  • Carnival Magic sailing from Port Canaveral starting August 7, 2021
  • Carnival Sunrise sailing from Miami starting August 14, 2021
  • Carnival Panorama sailing from Long Beach starting August 21, 2021

Acceptable proof of vaccination must be in the form of the original vaccination record document issued by the country’s health authority that administered the vaccination.

This means a U.S. CDC’s Vaccination Record Card, a digital COVID-19 Certificate (QR code acceptable), a record of COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare provider (original digital email accepted), personal electronic health record, or government Immunization Information System record.

Children under the age of 12 can be exempted but will need to clear this with the cruise line before sailing. Exceptions have been denied, meaning the cruise line intends to sail with at least 95% vaccinated guests on board. All crew onboard have been vaccinated already.

Cruise Vaccine

2. What Did Carnival Do to Minimize Risks On Board?

Carnival has done its best to balance creating a fun but safe environment on board the ships. Guests will be asked to complete an online health questionnaire 72 hours before sailing and undergo enhanced pre-embarkation health screenings.

Also Read: Carnival Cruise Line Details E-Muster Which Could Remain Permanently

Expect to have a team of highly trained medical staff onboard, hospital facilities including critical care abilities, dedicated isolation and quarantine rooms, HEPA filtration systems, and much more. Guests will also be reminded frequently to sanitize their hands, and increased sanitation programs have also been implemented.

Carnival Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks /

3. I Am Fully Vaccinated, Do I Still Need to Be Tested?

Vaccinated guests do not have to be tested for COVID-19. Testing may, however, be deemed necessary as a precautionary measure based on medical screening that will occur on embarkation day, which will be free of charge.

Guests and their traveling party will not sail if the test result comes back positive; they will receive a sailing credit for a future cruise. Guests may have to quarantine locally in such cases, and Carnival will help make those arrangements for guests.     

4. Do I Need to Wear a Facemask On Board?

Carnival says guests do not have to wear masks on board or maintain physical distance onboard the ship. The only place masks need to be worn is in the terminal before embarkation and debarking the vessel. Local regulations could also require guests to wear a mask so bring one in case you plan on going ashore.

Cruise Ship Illness with Mask
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

5. Will There Be Teen and Children’s Programs On Board?

Yes, and no. Camp Ocean, the kids’ programs for the under 12’s will not operate as these kids were not vaccinated. Carnival deems the risk of transmission of diseases too big. Circle “C” and Club O2, the clubs for teens on board the Carnival ships, will be operating as usual.

6. Can I Check-In Online?

Yes, you can. Carnival requires it from all guests. Guests will need to complete the online check-in and select an arrival appointment. If you have booked a Suite or are a Platinum or Diamond guest, you can do this check-in 16 days before departure. All other guests can do the check-in 14 days before departure. Passengers will need to make sure that they stick to their arrival time as early arrivals will be asked to return later.

Carnival Website
Carnival Website

7. Do I Need to Book a Tour to Go Ashore?

Carnival Cruise Line does not require you to book an expensive tour to have the opportunity to go ashore. Everything is as it always was. Do keep in mind that local requirements can differ significantly from those Carnival operates, meaning mask-wearing, physical distancing, and testing/health screenings could all be required.

As we reported recently, Carnival is also working on so-called bubble tours. Meaning guests can go ashore without endangering themselves or locals. More info on these bubble tours will be offered soon, according to John Heald.

8. I Love The Lido Buffet, But I Heard This Would No Longer Be Offered?

Don’t worry! As Carnival Cruise Line Ambassador John Heald said, the buffet will remain self-service for guests and not shift to just having crew members serve. Carnival feels that the line is doing enough to keep everyone on board safe, and with only vaccinated adults on board, the risks are minimal.

Cruise Buffet
Photo By Russell Otway

9. Is ‘Your Time’ Dining Still Available?

Yes, according to the latest reports, there have not been any changes here either. Guests may choose early dining at 6:00 pm, late dining at 8:15 pm, or ‘Your Time’ open seating between 5:45 pm and 9:30 pm.

In the main dining room, guests eating on the ‘Your Time’ open seating may choose any table size and waiter between 5:45 pm and 9:30 pm. Guests are seated based on arrival and number of guests. The ship provides pagers if there is a modest wait time, so guests can relax elsewhere on the ship until their table is ready.

Details Are Changing

It is important to know that many details are just for cruises departing in July and August. By the time September arrives, the situation may be different on board, so it’s important to keep checking for the official updates before any cruise. Downloading the Carnival HUB App will also be an important part of the cruise experience and must be done before the cruise traveling to the ship.

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