Carnival Cruise Line is altering its safety protocols for all of its sailings as the Delta variant continues to surge around the world.
Carnival will require masks to be worn in certain indoor areas of its ships, effective immediately. In addition, passengers will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days of boarding, starting with sailings leaving August 14.
The announcement comes days after a small number of positive cases were found aboard a Carnival ship that left from Galveston, Texas. Those passengers were isolated as the cruise continued, CNN reported.
Carnival only recently began sailing a full schedule again, and company officials are well aware that further spread of coronavirus could lead to another shutdown of operations if mitigation steps aren’t taken.
“These new requirements are being implemented to protect our guests and crew while on board, and to continue to provide confidence to our home ports and destinations that we are doing our part to support their efforts to protect public health and safety,” Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy said in a statement. “We expect these requirements will be temporary and appreciate the cooperation of our guests.”
Carnival noted that 100 percent of its crew aboard every sailing are fully vaccinated.
Carnival has an extensive list of rules and regulations for all of its sailings, all outlined on its Have Fun. Be Safe. webpage. Officials encourage their passengers to read through the list carefully, particularly for guests who are unvaccinated.
Among the rules for those guests are proof of travel insurance, no independent sightseeing in ports of call, testing requirements while on board, and protocols for close contact with someone who tests positive.
“Our first month of guest operations has been met with tremendous enthusiasm and very positive guest feedback,” Duffy said. “We are committed to continue our restart with both fun and safety in mind.”
Carnival said the decision to again require masks and negative tests comes on the heels of other travel sectors and venues adding stricter requirements for admission. The company specifically pointed to Las Vegas casinos, Broadway shows, and Disney theme parks as examples.
Holland America, Royal Caribbean, and Princess Cruises have all issued similar edicts in recent days.
Carnival officials said the move was made due to the “evolving public health situation.”
Coronavirus cases are again spiking across the United States, particularly in Florida where many of Carnival’s ships begin their journeys. Florida is setting daily records for cases and hospitalizations, even higher than when the pandemic began and vaccines were not available.
Across the United States, daily cases are now nearing the 100,000 mark after dropping to as low as 12,000 just 1 month ago.