COVID Rules to Return to Carnival Cruises?

COVID Rules to Return to Carnival Cruises?

With an increase in new COVID variants worldwide, many questions are being asked as to whether cruise lines are going to reintroduce COVID measures to reduce and prevent infection – Carnival shares their thoughts!

When the cruise industry returned from its 15-month shutdown in July 2021, cruising came with a lot of concessions and a lot of rules. At the time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC in the United States) had strict protocols that every cruise line, and their cruise ships had to follow.

Those rules changed as time went on, but for a long time people needed a negative Covid test in order to be able to board. They also needed to wear masks in the cruise terminals and at various times in all indoor areas of the ships except when actively eating or drinking. Boy, we don’t miss those dark times!

Carnival Vista / Carnival Cruise Line
Credit: Carnival Vista / Carnival Cruise Line

Protocols changed regularly and often without notice. Both Carnival Cruise Line and its arc rival Royal Caribbean only opened their buffets for breakfast and lunch at various times. They also, because of the CDC and social distancing rules, sailed at well below capacity for many months – with many sailings making a cash loss.

Despite the ships being uncrowded, the rules caused some cruisers to stay away. Some people hated wearing masks, others weren’t vaccinated, and some people only wanted to cruise when things went back to normal.

Now, Covid numbers have been increasing, and rumors have popped up on social media that Carnival Cruise Line plans to bring back some of its Covid-era rules. That’s something that has been so persistent that Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald felt the need to address it in a video on his popular Facebook feed!

The brand ambassador started by acknowledging why he was talking about Covid.

“That takes me onto Covid because I’ve had a lot of people write to me about this and I wanted to address that in this video today! Covid is still very much a part of our lives. It’s around, it’s still there, just like colds, and flus, and all the other stuff. We have to be careful of it.”

Heald was very direct in his answer to the question of whether the cruise line planned to bring back any of its Covid-era rules in the U.S. in his video.

“Some of you have written, ‘Are we going back to mask wearing?’ Some of you are saying, ‘Are were going back to Covid protocols?’ And some of you have written demanding that we go back to wearing masks, which we’re not,” he said.

The cruise line’s brand ambassador described the situation as being “a bit of general unease.” He acknowledged that some passengers on Carnival’s ships have reported to him that they have tested positive for Covid after their cruises.

Heald also sought the opinion of Carnival’s head of communications Chris Chiames:

“This is what we’re saying at the moment, as you know, the  Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have both declared and end to the public health emergency associated with covid 19. So, we are all exposed to potential variants in our everyday activities and most certainly not just on cruise ships. Specific protocols for U.S. cruise ships were lifted in 2022 and there are no special protocols for cruising in most parts of the world. While vaccines are not required, we encourage all guests five years and older to be up to date with their covid-19 vaccines when eligible and carry proof of vaccination”.

Heald made it very clear that Carnival encourages its passengers to be careful, but exactly what choices they make are up to them and not the cruise line.