Cruise lines modify COVID testing window before boarding

 Saturday, September 4, 2021 



Several cruise lines introduced changes overnight to mandatory testing requirements for passengers sailing on cruises this month.

This means shortening the window for producing a negative COVID-19 test from three days prior to embarkation to just two.

Health and safety protocol of different cruise lines

Late Thursday, Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises have modified their health and safety protocol webpages to reflect the changes.

However,the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mandates this requirement.

So, passengers who booked their sail from U.S. home ports later this month should be prepared for the shortened testing requirements.

Other lines now mandating two-day testing for U.S. departures include Celebrity, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean.

All these cruise lines adjusted their policies today.

There is no change for Norwegian Cruise Line sailings from the U.S., as Norwegian mandates every embarking passenger undergo rapid antigen testing pier side prior to embarkation.

The same is true for Disney Cruise LIne, which already mandates all passengers undergo pier side testing.

However, passengers under 12 years of age on Disney are still required to obtain a negative PCR test prior to embarkation.

For Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America Line, MSC and Royal Caribbean, any sailing departing on or after September 13, 2021 will require passengers to be tested no more than two days in advance.

For Princess, the requirement goes into effect with the September 19 voyage of Majestic Princess from Seattle.

Both Carnival and Princess advise booked passengers on what the new testing window means.

For example, passengers sailing on a Saturday could get tested as early as Thursday. Those departing on Sundays could be tested as early as Friday.

COVID testing rules for cruise lines

Accepted tests can be either antigen or PCR.

Some at-home self-test kits can be used, provided those tests meet certain criteria, including the mandate that self-test kits “must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test.

It provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection.

Unvaccinated passengers must take a PCR test.

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