Princess Cruises realizes the testing requirements from the CDC are causing problems for many guests. With only two days to get a negative test before the cruise departs, the timing is tight for many. Therefore the cruise line now offers alternatives for guests who have not been tested on time.
With the vaccine mandate, pre-cruise testing requirements, and testing during longer voyages, the cruise line is doing everything it can to make proceedings that little bit easier while also ensuring the health and safety on board for everyone during the voyage.
While the CDC’s testing requirements before a cruise certainly do offer cruise lines the chance to avoid possible positive cases of COVID-19 onboard, the timeline of testing within 48 hours before departure is causing significant issues for many passengers.
Especially those flying in from destinations far away from the embarkation port are facing difficulties. To help these guests out, Princess Cruises now offers testing at the terminal as a backup.
In their CruiseHealth guidelines, the cruise line states the following: “We understand that it may be difficult for some of our guests to find testing that can provide results within a 2-day turnaround. Accordingly, for guests who did not receive their test results within 2 days prior to their embarkation, we have mobile testing sites near our embarkation ports to conduct COVID-19 testing the day before, or day of, your cruise departure.”
The testing procedure at the terminal will not come cheaply, and guests will certainly choose to have this as a backup option only. At $150 per person, terminal testing is considerably more expensive than standard options such as Walgreens and other private testing facilities. Therefore, the cruise line stresses that guests should only use the terminal testing option if they have not received their results in time.
While Princess Cruises now offers testing at the terminal, this is not a standard procedure for Carnival Corporation. Carnival Cruise Line, for example, has stated it will not be offering guests any on-site testing facilities.
Christine Duffy, the Carnival Cruise Line President, stated: “While we had previously raised the possibility of more on-site testing at our terminals, the logistics of making this service widely available to a large number of guests does not make this a viable option,”
Guests to Be Tested During Their voyage
Besides testing before the cruise starts, guests will likely also undergo testing onboard the ship during longer voyages. This will be done on select cruises, including Panama Canal Full Transit and trips of 15 days or longer. The onboard test will likely occur 3-5 days into the cruise. For voyages 15 days and longer specifically, Princess Cruises will test guests every seven days.
These onboard tests will be comforting for guests booked on longer cruises, keeping in mind the issues that Princess Cruises experienced at the beginning of the pandemic onboard multiple ships on longer voyages.
Should a guest be tested positive onboard, the cruise line has an action plan ready to mitigate the effects a positive case has on others onboard the ship.
Guests found positive will be treated inside their stateroom or the medical facilities onboard; guests will be quarantined in a single ward or cabin, depending on the medical care they require. Princess Cruises also offer positive guests, travel companions, and close contacts a full refund if they miss any days of their cruise due to a positive test result or a suspicion of infection.