Carnival to Require Pre-Cruise Covid Tests for Vaccinated, Masking Indoors on Ships

Carnival's first U.S. cruise since the industry was shut down in March of 2020 amid the pandemic set sail last month

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Carnival Cruise Line is updating its travel rules with a new pre-cruise requirement that all vaccinated guests be tested for COVID-19 and that all guests wear masks in certain indoor areas on ships.

The South Florida-based cruise line said the new temporary facial covering change will go into effect on all cruises that depart starting Saturday and will last through Oct. 31.

"Carnival will continue to operate with vaccinated cruises as defined by the CDC, including having its crew fully vaccinated," the company said in a statement Thursday. "However, in an abundance of caution, and following the lead of similar sectors and venues – including Nevada casinos, Disney theme parks, and Broadway theaters – all guests will be asked to wear masks in certain indoor areas of Carnival’s ships."

Starting with all cruises leaving on Aug. 14, all fully vaccinated Carnival guests must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within three days of their embarkation, the company said.

Testing will not be available in the terminal and all guests must come with their negative test results and proof of vaccination before boarding. The testing rule will also be in place through Oct. 31.

"These new requirements are being implemented to protect our guests and crew while on board, and to continue to provide confidence to our homeports and destinations that we are doing our part to support their efforts to protect public health and safety,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We expect these requirements will be temporary and appreciate the cooperation of our guests. Our first month of guest operations has been met with tremendous enthusiasm and very positive guest feedback, and we are committed to continue our restart with both fun and safety in mind.”

Under its existing rules, Carnival guests who are unvaccinated have to go through pre-cruise PCR testing, testing prior to boarding, and testing within 24 hours of debarkation on cruises of five days or longer. Unvaccinated guests approved for an exemption are charged $150 for testing and health screening costs. For cruises departing from Florida and Texas, unvaccinated guests are also required to show proof of insurance.

Carnival's first U.S. cruise since the industry was shut down in March of 2020 amid the pandemic set sail last month.

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