Princess Cruises, operating under the Carnival Corporation, is lifting all of its protocols for the vast majority of sailings starting October 21, 2022.
In a letter sent to booked guests, the cruise line says there will be no more need to provide a negative test result, whether fully vaccinated or not.
The only sailings where measures remain in place are destinations where the local authorities demand it. It spells good news for guests wishing to sail from US and European homeports and could mean that other Carnival-owned cruise lines will be making the same move soon.
No More Testing for Cruises with Princess
Guests sailing with Princess Cruises will no longer have to provide a negative test result, regardless of their vaccination status. The cruise line already changed its protocols on September 6, when it removed the need for test results for vaccinated guests. This has now been updated to include unvaccinated guests.
The new protocol will be effective October 21 and is valid for all cruises sailing to and from destinations where local rules do not differ with stricter requirements.
This means that all US sailings and European sailings are included. However, cruises sailing from Australia and New Zealand are not. For these voyages, the local rules still apply.
Princess Cruises follows Norwegian Cruise Line, which implemented a similar rule. On its website, and in a communication sent to guests booked onboard, Princess cruises states the following:
“It’s easier than ever to prepare for your cruise. All guests are welcome, regardless of vaccination status, and starting October 21, vaccination and testing requirements have been lifted on most voyages.”
“This applies to itineraries to all destinations except where government regulations may vary like Australia, and on a few voyages that have their own vaccination and testing requirements.”
The final part of the statement refers to longer voyages, where the risk of a potential outbreak of COVID-19 is more significant.
Will Other Cruise Lines Follow?
The move from Princess Cruises is significant in many ways. First of all, the cruise line has been a headliner in mainstream media during the first months of the pandemic, when several outbreaks occurred onboard Princess Cruises ships. Moving to a no-testing policy now shows considerable confidence in the ability to keep everyone onboard healthy and safe.
Also, Princess Cruises is the first cruise line under the Carnival Corporation to have a far more relaxed testing policy. Something that could potentially point toward other cruise lines, such as Carnival Cruise Line, to make a similar move.
Many guests have commented on Carnival Cruise Line’s testing policy in the past weeks. This became particularly apparent when Bermuda removed all testing requirements, yet Carnival held on to its testing policies.
Carnival still states that irrespective of cruise length, guests aged five years and older will have to present the negative results of a PCR or antigen test taken no earlier than three days before sailing.
Royal Caribbean also still has a testing requirement; however only for guests aged 12 and up.
The changes by Princess Cruises will come under scrutiny from the other cruise lines. Although testing requirements are already much more relaxed than six months ago, they are still a hindrance for guests to book a cruise. In particular, because daily life seems to have returned to normal.