Despite all the preventive measures that the cruise industry has implemented onboard cruise ships, including extensive testing procedures and a vaccine mandate, the possibility still exists that you, or someone close to you, gets infected with Covid.
So what happens when you wake up one morning not feeling 100%? We look at what happens to you and your loved ones and close contacts when you test positive onboard a Carnival cruise.
From testing procedures to quarantine and eating and drinking. Plus, what happens to all the money you paid for your cruise? We look at Carnival Cruise line’s procedures onboard its ships to make the experience bearable. It’s also important to note that the cruise line follows guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
You’ve booked a cruise, you took all the steps, got your vaccinations, got boostered, tested, and you’re all set for your Carnival cruise. The first few days are fantastic, but you wake up with a sore throat and a fever on day three. What happens next?
Luckily, the overwhelming majority of people that experience this will immediately call the medical staff and get tested for COVID-19. Getting tested onboard is free of charge, and the results will come quickly. There is no need to worry about the level of care onboard either; all cruise ships are equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities and have fully qualified doctors and nursing staff.
If your test does come back positive, expect to be brought to a separate area within the ship, designated specifically for those guests that have tested positive for COVID-19. Two security team members will be present to help clear the halls while you make your way there. Ship’s staff will likely pack your bags and bring them to you, or in some circumstances, you may be allowed to pack them yourself (for example, when traveling alone).
How long your isolation will take depends on your body’s ability to spread the disease; this is what Carnival Cruise Line says in a letter that guests who test positive receive:
“In order to prevent any possible spread of COVID-19, you will need to remain in isolation and from others until you are no longer at risk of spreading the illness to others. Your end of isolation date will depend on a number of factors and be determined by the ship’s doctor. Our medical staff will inform you of any additional requirements such as daily temperature and symptom screening, and any specific COVID-19 testing requirements.”
The ship will make sure that all your close contacts are traced. This means someone from the vessel will go through your movements and your traveling party. Your traveling party, in the meantime, will also get tested and placed in isolation until it is confirmed whether or not they are positive or not: “We will also be in touch to determine your movements during the time that you may have been infectious, to identify anyone that may need to be quarantined as your close contact.”
A close contact is any individual who has been within 6 feet of an infected/symptomatic person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period within 14 days prior to sailing.
You’ve been tested, you’ve been moved to an isolated cabin, you’ve been briefed by medical staff, and now you’re in your cabin. Not the way you thought your cruise was going to go. Plus, there are some strict rules you’ll need to comply with.
Once in isolation, you cannot leave your stateroom for any reason except when directed to do so by medical staff. If you do need to open your door to your cabin, you have to wear a facemask at all times.
All deliveries (including food, towels, toilet paper, etc.) will be placed outside your stateroom. To protect the crew, anyone in isolation is not allowed to open the door until after the person delivering the items has walked away. The crew has received specific instructions and cannot speak with anyone in isolation.
Fortunately, Carnival does make an effort to make the experience as bearable as possible. Be ready for a few days of watching movies and eating room service. Probably not the cruise experience you were looking for, but you’re going to have to make the best out of your time. Ship’s officers, including the guest services manager, hotel director, and sometimes even the captain, will be in contact daily to check up on you.
What Happens When You Get Out of Isolation?
Once you are released from isolation after testing negative for COVID, you will be either allowed to continue your cruise, or you will be leaving the ship to return home. In case you have transportation in the homeport, such as your private vehicle, you can drive yourself home.
For guests who must quarantine locally (i.e. you need to fly home), Carnival will help make quarantine arrangements; however, all related expenses will be the guests’ responsibility, which is covered by insurance in most cases.
What happens to the hundreds or thousands of dollars you lost being in isolation? Luckily Carnival will offer a pro-rated future cruise credit towards a different cruise:
“We realize vacations are to be a special time and extend our sincere apologies for the disappointment this has caused. We’d love for you to return to fully experience the Carnival cruise you had planned. Accordingly, a prorated future cruise credit equal to the number of days you are in isolation/quarantine will be issued so you can sail with us in the future.”
Although being in isolation onboard a cruise ship is no fun, keep in mind that sailing onboard is still significantly safer than going to the mall, post office, or any other vacation options out there. Royal Caribbean recently released its positivity numbers onboard. The cruise company carried 1.1 million guests with 1,745 people testing positive, a positivity rate of 0.02 percent.