On Friday an email was sent to passengers and advisors with the announcement surrounding the future of protocols and vaccine requirements.
Carnival Cruise Line has made the decision to continue with the vaccine requirements to sail as well as the current protocols including testing for the foreseeable future. Does this mean the requirements and protocols are permanent, of course not, this could change at any point. I think what Carnival has done is relieve some of the pressure. For almost two years now we have gone 2,,3,4 months at a time waiting on information. With this announcement we know, for the most part, the worst case scenario moving forward is what is currently in place. If they are lifted, we are better off than we are now.
The email from CEO Christine Duffy stated the below.
We have had a very successful restart, having safely sailed nearly one million guests and operated more than 350 voyages since July. Our commitment to the health and safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit is reflected in our Have Fun. Be Safe. protocols and procedures, which were developed in consultation with our medical experts and have proven very effective during our restart and adaptable to the evolving public health situation. Thanks to our stringent, multilayered protocols that far exceed CDC requirements, our case rate has been much lower than what has been experienced in the U.S.
While we had all hoped to have been in a different place with the pandemic by now, it is clear that continued attention to these additional protocols and procedures is required to keep our guests and crew healthy and maintain the confidence of destination officials. Therefore, until further notice, we will continue to operate vaccinated voyages with our enhanced protocols. We are not going to try to predict when this current situation will change.
But now comes the decision of guest who are not vaccinated. Carnival is allowing those who are unable to meet the requirements and sailing April 2022 and beyond to cancel prior to February 15, 2022 and get a full refund. Any cancellations after February 16 will fall under the normal cancellation policies.
Should you cancel? Not a question I can really answer for you but I can give some guidance. There are tons of factors that go into your decision but here are a few to think about.
I think these are considerations you have to take into account when making the decision and what you should do is of course up to you. You will want to consult your travel advisor for their advice.
In addition to the above announcement, they also announced some initiatives for embarkation and testing. For embarkation on Mardi Gras, they have instituted VeriFly, an app that allows you to complete your check in when it comes to Vaccination Attestation, providing the proof of vaccination and negative test. For now it only is working on Mardi Gras but after the pilot will go fleet wide. I am sailing on Mardi Gras in March so I will let you know how it goes.
Testing has been difficult in some places so Carnival is currently working on testing at the pier for the short 3 & 4 night cruises for vaccinated guest allowing passengers to meet that requirement at a cost of only $10 per test. Pre registration will be required but for now, sit tight as Carnival works out the details and makes further announcements by the end of January.
As we move through this month and February, we will likely see more of this from other cruise lines so pay attention to your emails and also, make sure you are checking out my blog.
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I have a passion for travel and believe travel is about experiences. Experiences create memories and are the stories we tell to friends and family - even with a little fudging on the facts.