Carnival Cruise Line has issued a statement confirming that mask-wearing will be required, along with a number of other anti-coronavirus measures, when it resumes cruising from the United States.
Carnival Cruise Line issued a set of anti-COVID-19 rules and regulations for passengers regarding its return to service later in the year, but then removed them from its website, but confirmed the major elements, such as mask wearing, would remain.
“In our haste to keep guests and travel agents informed, we posted some information that was not finalised,” the cruise line said in a statement.
“As we have said previously, guests should expect masks, testing, distancing and other protocols. We intend to provide more details over the coming weeks as we work to resume operations,” it added.
What is known about Carnival Cruise Line’s policies regarding counter coronavirus measures is that guests will need to wear a mask of at least two layers when in any of the ship’s indoor common areas, such as when eating or drinking in a bar or restaurant and when using the gym.
Physical distancing will need to be maintained at all times and when outdoors, such as on the pool deck, if physical distancing is not possible, masks must be worn.
The cruise line further clarified that masks must have a double layer, precluding the use of cloth masks, unless they are doubled up. Gaiters and bandanas are not allowed, and face shields are permitted when used with a mask.
Carnival noted that masks must also be worn over the nose and mouth.
A limited supply of masks will be available in staterooms after boarding, but guests will need to wear them from the moment they arrive at the cruise terminal. Masks will be needed during embarkation, shore excursions and disembarkation.
All guests older than 2 years of age will also need to undertake a SARS-CoV-2 test between 5 days to 24 hours prior to the date of embarkation, and will of course need a negative result.
Additional testing may be undertaken at the terminal or onboard the vessel, according to Carnival Cruise Line’s requirements.
Like the cruises that have resumed in the Mediterranean, guests will not be permitted off the ship on their own and will only be allowed ashore as part of an organized shore excursion executed and escorted by vetted tour operators who maintain Carnival’s level of COVID-19 controls.
Shoreside visits may be also limited to port areas that have no public access, but will still need to be undertaken as part of an organized tour.
Carnival did note it may offer indoor excursions only if physical distancing, use of masks, and other recommended protective measures can be implemented.
“We will have pre-arranged transportation from the ship to the venue and back again,” Carnival said in a statement.
Guests will be able to pre-purchase shore excursions through Carnival.com, the Carnival HUB app or onboard, subject to availability and capacity restrictions. All guests will have to comply with physical distancing, mask wearing and all other COVID-19 related requirements.
Throughout the duration of the shore excursion, guests will be asked to remain with their cruise companions. There may be additional restrictions during shore excursions depending on local conditions, the cruise line noted.
Any noncompliance by guests or members of guest’s travelling party will be grounds for refusal to re-board after going ashore, or other steps deemed necessary.
Carnival noted that if a guest is denied boarding or disembarked due to failure to comply, they will not be entitled to a refund, credit, or compensation of any kind.
“Guests will be responsible for all costs and fines, including without limitation travel expenses,” the cruise line said.
Carnival added that all guests may be required to provide identifying information and information about certain activities engaged in during the cruise so Carnival can perform contact tracing in the event any person onboard is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
Various location tracking technologies may be used to assist in the collection of contact tracing information such as wearables, video surveillance, transaction data, and photographs taken during the cruise.
These measures announced by Carnival largely follow those set out by cruise lines that resumed operations in Italy, where tens of thousands of passengers have been carried by Costa and MSC without any COVID-19 cases on-board.
The policies also fall in line with those announced by the CDC. There is considerable resistance to mask wearing among US cruise passengers, however, leaving a question mark over the impact these new policies will have on future cruise demand.