Sunday,  August 14, 2022  3:05 pm

Carnival & MSC change pre-cruise testing protocols

  • Cruises
  •   07-29-2022  3:31 pm
  •   Pax Global Media
Carnival & MSC change pre-cruise testing protocols
Carnival Vista (top); MSC Seashore (bottom). (File photos/Supplied)
Pax Global Media

Carnival Cruise Line on Friday (July 29) announced adjustments to certain protocols to reflect the lifting of CDC requirements for the U.S. cruise industry.

Effective for embarkations on or after Thursday, August 4, there will be no pre-cruise testing for fully vaccinated guests booked on cruises with itineraries five nights or less.

Pre-cruise testing for itineraries six nights or longer can be conducted three days before departure.

There will be no in-terminal testing for unvaccinated guests on day of departure, but all unvaccinated guests ages two and older must provide proof of a negative result of a lab-administered or supervised self-administered antigen COVID test taken within three days before embarkation.

“We remain, as always, committed to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve,” Carnival said in a statement.

The cruise line said more changes will be announced shortly and that all changes are subject to the requirements in destinations on the itinerary.

MSC updates protocol 

In the same vein, MSC Cruises has also announced that it will implement new protocols for its passengers sailing from U.S. ports starting August 8.

The cruise line currently has two ships based in Florida: MSC Seashore in Miami and the MSC Divina in Port Canaveral.  

The brand says that fully vaccinated passengers sailing five nights or less from U.S. ports are advised to have tested negative for COVID-19 within three days of embarkation, but testing will not be a mandatory requirement for boarding.

In addition, unvaccinated children aged two years and older will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of embarkation. 

And fully vaccinated passengers sailing six nights or longer from a U.S. port must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test completed within three days of embarkation.

MSC Cruises’ current vaccination requirements will remain in place for sailings from Miami and Port Canaveral until August 8. The current rules are that all guests who are 12 years and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to a press release, MSC said that it will “continue to monitor pandemic conditions and port requirements outside of the U.S., with a goal to relax testing and vaccination protocols to open cruising to all guests.”

The update follows the Royal Caribbean Group's plan to take a similar action on Aug. 8. 

The brands will join Azamara, Virgin Voyages and Margaretville at Sea, which have all ended pre-embarkation COVID-19 testing following the CDC's ending of its Cruise Ship COVID-19 program.

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