Two more cruise lines, both part of Carnival Corporation & plc, have adjusted testing requirements for shorter sailings, relaxing protocols to permit passengers to set sail more conveniently.
Cunard Line and P&O Cruises are easing their requirements for sailings from September 6, 2022, but only on shorter sailings where government regulations permit. In some embarkation ports, stricter local guidelines will still apply.
Cunard Line and P&O Cruises Relax Testing Requirements
For both lines, testing for fully vaccinated passengers will become “highly recommended” rather than “required” as of Tuesday, September 6.
Only on longer, more “complex” sailings will guests still be required to present a negative antigen or PCR test to be permitted to board. While exact details on what constitutes a “complex” sailing have not yet been clarified, the stricter requirements are likely to apply to itineraries 16 nights or longer, as well as certain holiday sailings.
Regions with stricter local protocols, at this time including Canada and Australia, still require testing, and guests booked on applicable sailings will be notified about their exact requirements for cruise travel.
“These updated protocols reflect the current environment across the world and while certain key elements have relaxed, our commitment to protect the health and wellbeing of all guests, crew and the communities we visit remains an ongoing and vital consideration,” said Sture Myrmell, Carnival UK president, overseeing both Cunard Line and P&O Cruises.
P&O Cruises temporarily eased testing requirements in late June aboard a single ship, Iona, for several sailings to test how guests might respond and whether the measure would be suitable. That test period passed without difficulty, but was not extended nor applied to other ships until now.
To continue ensuring the health and wellbeing of guests and crew, both Cunard Line and P&O Cruises still require all guests ages 16 and older to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before embarkation. Crew members will also continue to be fully vaccinated and tested regularly.
Prospective guests should stay in touch with their cruise line to be alerted to changing protocols and updated guidelines as their sailing date approaches, as requirements may change at any time if needed or as local conditions evolve.
More Cruise Lines Dropping Testing
In recent weeks, a number of cruise lines have eased pre-cruise testing requirements, particularly for vaccinated passengers on shorter sailings.
This includes the most familiar cruise line that is part of Carnival Corporation & plc, Carnival Cruise Line, which dropped testing requirements for short cruises as of August 4, though some cruises are still excluded depending on their port destinations.
While other Carnival Corporation-owned brands – notably Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, as well as AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, and Seabourn – have not yet dropped testing requirements, those changes may well be made in the near future, particularly as more sailings safely commence without the added burden of testing.
Other major lines, including Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises, have already dropped testing requirements, as have some smaller lines such as Margaritaville at Sea and Virgin Voyages, which was the first cruise line to drop pre-cruise testing from U.S. homeports.
Each cruise line does have subtle differences in their evolving policies, however, and travelers should not assume the requirements of one line will be the same as for another line.
Factors such as ship capacity, itinerary destinations, departure ports, cruise length, vaccination status, passenger age, and more all impact whether or not a pre-cruise test may be required.
Stay tuned to Cruise Hive for continuing updates on the evolving protocols of different cruise lines, where and when pre-cruise tests are or are not required, and how vaccination status affects testing guidelines.