Saturday,  February 4, 2023  4:58 am

Carnival & Princess drop vaccine mandate for most voyages; Cunard eases testing

  • Cruises
  •   08-14-2022  9:30 am
  •   Pax Global Media
Carnival & Princess drop vaccine mandate for most voyages; Cunard eases testing
Princess, Carnival and Cunard of Carnival Corp. have announced new COVID-19 guidelines. (File photos)
Pax Global Media

Carnival Cruise Line has unveiled simplified vaccination and testing guidelines.

In an update on Friday (Aug. 12), the cruise line said there will be no longer be testing for vaccinated guests on sailings less than 16 nights.

The cruise line also eliminated the exemption request process for unvaccinated guests, who will only need to show a negative test result at embarkation.

All new guidelines are effective for cruises departing on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022 or later, and include:

Vaccinated guests must continue to provide evidence of their vaccination status prior to embarkation. Pre-cruise testing is no longer required, except for cruises to Canada, Bermuda, Greece and Australia (per local guidelines), and on voyages 16 nights or longer.

Unvaccinated guests are welcome to sail and are no longer required to apply for a vaccine exemption, except for cruises in Australia or on voyages 16 nights and longer.

Unvaccinated guests or those who do not provide proof of vaccination must present the results of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within three days of embarkation.

All policies are subject to local destination regulations.

Guests under the age of five years are exempt from vaccination and testing requirements from the United States and under the age of 12 from Australia.

Voyages 16 nights and longer will continue to have vaccination and testing requirements that are specific to the itinerary.

Requirements for long voyages and destination-specific protocols are available on Carnival’s Have Fun. Be Safe. page on

For guests who have a pending vaccine exemption application and are awaiting confirmation for cruises departing Sept. 6 or later, the booking is confirmed unless booked on a sailing that calls on Canada, Bermuda, Australia or if the voyage is 16 nights or longer. 

“Our ships have been sailing very full all summer, but there is still room for more of our loyal guests, and these guidelines will make it a simpler process, and make cruising accessible for those who were not able to meet the protocols we were required to follow for much of the past 14 months,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. 

Duffy said Carnival is in the process of updating its website, communications, and processes, and sharing more details with guests and travel advisor partners to reflect these new, simplified policies.

Update from Princess

Princess Cruises, which is owned by the Carnival Corporation, also announced new COVID-19 protocols on Friday.

In a similar fashion, the vaccine requirement for most voyages of less than 16 days has been removed.

Also beginning Sept. 6, vaccinated guests on voyages of less than 16 days will no longer have to test before boarding and only need to upload proof of vaccination while getting OceanReady.

Unvaccinated guests, or those who do not provide proof of vaccination, on those itineraries will self-test within three days of sailing and upload proof of a negative test before boarding.

Again, the new guidelines apply to itineraries from all departure ports except Canada, Greece and Australia.

Here’s the key points for Princess' updated guidelines:

  • No pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests on voyages of up to 15 nights (guests 5 and older) with the exception of full Panama Canal transits, trans-ocean and other special itineraries; unvaccinated guests must provide a negative self-test result taken within three days of embarkation (unvaccinated children under 5 years do not require pre-cruise testing)
  • Guests sailing on voyages 16 nights or longer, or sailing on full Panama Canal transits, trans-ocean and other specific itineraries, need to take a supervised test within three days of embarkation (guests 5 and older). Guests on these types of voyages will be contacted directly by an Ocean Navigator to assist.

Princess' updated guidelines reflect the cruise line's ongoing commitment to providing a safe and healthy environment for all guests and crew.

"These updated guidelines help ensure a Princess vacation is available to everyone," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises. "The Princess experience is truly one-of-a-kind and we encourage everyone to take a Princess vacation that offers amazing service at unmatched value."

Cunard eases testing rule, keeps vax mandate

Meanwhile, Cunard Line, also owned by Carnival Corp., is adjusting its pre-travel testing requirements but has not dropped its vaccine mandate.

From Sept. 6, 2022 self-testing prior to travel will change from "mandatory" to "highly recommended" for vaccinated Cunard guests “on the vast majority of voyages.”

Only guests sailing on “longer, more complex itineraries” will be required to have an observed or in person antigen or PCR test with a fit to travel certificate prior to departure, the company said.

These include a number of sailings of 16 nights or more and other specific voyages.

The new guidelines apply to all Cunard itineraries sailing from Southampton, England, and all other departure points, with the exception of countries (like Canada) where government regulations and protocols may vary.

"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 Matt Gleaves, vice-president, Commercial, North America and Australasia. "They also ensure that the ease of cruising remains at the fore and that all guests of all ages can enjoy a voyage with unrivalled dining, relaxation and exploration options and unmatched service levels at extraordinary value for money."

The vaccination policy for Cunard remains. Full details can be found here

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