Virgin Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have all been busy lately with changes to their existing policies. As always, this a constantly changing situation. Enchanted Adventures is here to help you “navigate” the new policies.
The CDC Announcement
The CDC announced on July 18th, that they will no longer be monitoring the cruise industry and their protocols. Updated posted to their website stated, “As of July 18, 2022, CDC’s Covid-19 Program for Cruise Ships is no longer in effect and this page will no longer be updated.”
Since early February, the CDC has ratcheted down warnings for cruising, starting with the creation of a voluntary Covid-19 program for cruise ships. At the time, the agency kept cruising at the top Level 4 travel notice, signifying “very high risk” and “avoid travel,” where it had been for months. Less than a week later, the agency lowered the cruising risk assessment to a Level 3 “high risk” notice.
Virgin Cruise Lines
Virgin Cruise Lines was the first to follow up the CDC announcement with changes to their policy. Not only are they dropping their pre-boarding testing requirements, they have also made other changes. While the crew will be 100% vaccinated, they will allow 10% of guests to be unvaccinated.
Starting on July 24th for the Valiant Lady and on July 27th for the Scarlet Lady, passengers will no longer be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test. Virgin was offering free testing for guests right at the port in Miami for Scarlet Lady passengers.
Scarlet Lady is currently sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean from the Cruise Capital of the World, Miami. Valiant Lady is sailing week long cruises in Europe from Barcelona.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines announced today (at the time of this article) changes to their policy as well…
“Carnival Cruise Line is pleased to announce that we are adjusting certain protocols to reflect the lifting of CDC requirements for the US cruise industry. We remain, as always, committed to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve. These changes will be made in phases, with the first of these updates effective on Thursday, August 4, 2022 and focused on short cruise itineraries of 5 nights or less. More changes will be announced shortly and all changes are subject to any requirements of destinations on the itinerary.
Effective for embarkations on or after Thursday, August 4
• No pre-cruise testing for fully vaccinated guests booked on cruises with itineraries 5 nights or less.
• Pre-cruise testing for itineraries 6 nights or longer can be conducted up to three (3) days before departure.
• There will be no in-terminal testing for unvaccinated guests (with exemption approval) on day of departure, but all unvaccinated guests, age 2 and older, must provide proof of a negative result of a lab-administered or supervised self-administered antigen COVID test taken within three (3) days before embarkation.
Thank you all for helping get us to where we are now and your loyalty and your desire to cruise and have FUN is extraordinary.”
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley just posted on social media news about the changes they are making as well. Coming next month, a change in testing will occur. Covid testing for unvaccinated passengers on short sailings will no longer be required.
He also said, “Unvaccinated guests will be required to take one test within 3 days of departure. We will also continue to operate highly vaccinated cruises with a vaccinated population greater than society and which continues to exempt kids 12 and under and we will welcome unvaccinated guests over 12 and guests with a certificate of recovery within 90 days to travel keeping in mind our ships will typically sail with 80 percent plus vaccinated guests onboard. “
A spokesperson at RCL confirmed that they will be allowing a certain number of unvaccinated guests onboard. They still maintain that a high percentage of guests will have to be vaccinated. First reports suggest that 20% of guests can be unvaccinated, but this has not officially stated by Royal Caribbean officials yet.
Policy changes are happening fast, I suspect we will see more cruise lines following along with these three. As always, your favorite Enchanted Adventures Travel Advisor is staying on top of the changes. Our goal is to make you vacations stress free and as magical as possible. That being said, keep in mind the cruise lines change their polices, but each port of call will have their own guidelines. The best policy to make yourself familiar with each ports rules and regulations before disembarking.