Carnival Cruise Line is looking to establish mobile testing centers at the ports where it sails from to allow passengers to complete a COVID-19 screening prior to sailing.
Carnival requires all passengers to show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to sailing. Those tests previously were needed within 72 hours of departure, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is moving its recommendation to 48 hours this week.
Because of the shorter time frame, Carnival executives recognized passengers might have a difficult time finding a testing facility at their sailing destination.
“We realize some of our guests are having a challenge getting a pre-cruise COVID-19 test, especially with the new 2-day window established by the CDC that goes into effect on September 13, 2021,” Carnival said on its website. “We are working to set up mobile testing sites at all our embarkation homeports to conduct a rapid test the day before or day of your departure.”
Carnival said the exact details are being worked out, and it may not happen at every location the company sails from. The company also noted that, while the testing site will be located at the piers, a separate company will handle the testing and therefore will charge customers.
“Carnival will be subsidizing the infrastructure of the mobile testing sites, but the company providing the testing will charge a per-person fee [to be established],” Carnival said. “Providers will not accept insurance, but you will be provided a receipt should you wish to submit the cost to your insurance carrier.”
Carnival stressed the mobile sites should be considered a backup alternative for passengers who cannot find another option for testing.
Pre-boarding testing is one of the many protocols Carnival has established for passengers hoping to sail on one of its cruises. The procedures have been developed in consultation with medical experts and guidance from the CDC, Carnival said.
“We will continue to operate vaccinated cruises as defined by the CDC, including having our crew fully vaccinated,” it said. “By doing so, Carnival is able to provide the optimal guest experience while at the same time protect the health and safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit.”
Passengers must be fully vaccinated with exemptions limited to a small number of children under 12, and teens and adults with a medical condition who can provide written confirmation from their provider that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
Unvaccinated passengers must show proof of travel insurance to board, and cannot go ashore in the ports of call on their own.
Many of the rules change depending upon the ports of call and the location of the ship’s departure.