Carnival Corporation has announced that masks will be mandatory on all its Australian cruises going forward following COVID outbreaks aboard several Princess Cruises ships.
In a press statement, Carnival Australia said the move was being undertaken out of an abundance of caution as Australia experiences a fourth wave of the virus.
All guests and crew will need to wear a mask at all times when indoors, unless eating and drinking, and outdoors when social distancing is not possible, such as during deck parties.
Masks will also be necessary on company transfers like tenders and buses.
“We can confirm that mask-wearing is being applied on board all Carnival Corporation brand ships operating in Australia and the region as an additional safeguard in light of the current rate of COVID-19 in the general community,” Carnival Corporation said in a statement.
“The past two years have seen all industries, including ours, strengthen their health and safety protocols. At the same time, a majority of the population is now vaccinated,” it added. “At a time when Australia is faced with a rapid rise of COVID cases, it’s critical everyone plays their part in keeping the community safe, and we thank our guests for abiding by our requirements.”
Carnival Corporation said the reintroduced mask mandate will remain in effect for as long as necessary.
The move comes following a significant COVID-19 outbreak aboard Majestic Princess involving 800 of her more than 3,000 passengers, with Cruise Law News reporting that two other Princess Cruises ships operating in Australia have had outbreaks as well.
Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas, also cruising in the region, have also reportedly had a total of more than 500 infections, although Royal Caribbean has said it is standing by its policy of ‘recommending’ masks.
“Royal Caribbean recommends guests should wear masks at the cruise terminal when embarking and disembarking, and in public indoor spaces and crowded outdoor spaces onboard. Some destinations we visit may require guests to wear masks,” it said in a statement.