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Carnival Sets New Covid Rules and Royal Caribbean Cancels Sailings

TheStreet logo TheStreet 7/18/2022 Daniel Kline

The two cruise lines have had to adapt to changing market conditions caused by the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean International  (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report and Carnival Cruise Lines have remained nimble during the pandemic. 

Once both companies returned to sailing in July 2021 after being shut down in North America for more than a year, they realized that market conditions would change regularly.

That led to both companies stepping up their communications with customers as covid protocols and itineraries were ever-changing. When a customer booked a cruise, they did so knowing that the rules could change, their stops could be canceled or changed, and sometimes their trip could be canceled altogether.

Neither Royal Caribbean nor Carnival  (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report controls its own fate. Both are beholden to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. and the governments in their port stops when they sail. 

That means that the rules for each sailing can differ. One country may require masks while a ship is in port while another won't allow unvaccinated children onshore.

Now, Carnival has had to revise its covid rules on certain sailings and Royal Caribbean has canceled plans for one of its ships in Europe next summer. The reasons behind the moves are very different, but both companies are staying flexible as the pandemic drags on and tensions in parts of the world remain high.

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Carnival Changes One Key Covid Rule

Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival still require that all guests age 12 and over provide proof of vaccination before they board. All passengers also must show a negative covid test, except, in some cases, for passengers who provide a so-called proof-of-recovery document.

That proof-of-recovery document will no longer be an option on Carnival sailings to Bermuda.

"In a notification sent to travel partners, Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed that a 'document of recovery' from covid-19 will NOT be acceptable in lieu of a negative precruise covid-19 test for sailings to Bermuda," Cruisehive reported. 

"This means that all passengers, regardless of vaccination status or whether they have recently recovered from the illness, must present a negative test result within the appropriate pretravel window before their cruise."

Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean require that before passengers board, they must present negative covid tests taken no more than two days prior to their sailings.

Those rules have been tweaked for Carnival's Bermuda sailings. Fully vaccinated guests can take a PCR test within 72 hours of embarkation for a Bermuda, or an antigen test within 48 hours of sailing. Fully vaccinated, in this case, includes a first booster shoot.

These are the first Carnival or Royal Caribbean cruises requiring a booster shot for a passenger to be considered fully vaccinated.

Royal Caribbean Cancels Serenade's European Vacation

Serenade of the Seas, a smaller Radiance class ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, had been scheduled to sail from Copenhagen and Stockholm between May and September 2023. 

It's had a change of plans. The ships' summer in Europe has been canceled due to global unrest.

"Citing increasing uncertainty on the situation in Ukraine and the possibility of calling in St. Petersburg, Russia, the cruise line has decided to keep Serenade of the Seas in the U.S.," Cruisehive reported.

The cruise line now plans to keep the ship in Florida but has not said which port it would sail from. Tampa, Fla., would make the most sense, as that's where Serenade will make its home port for much of the previous year.

Two transatlantic crossings have also been canceled for Serenade. Passengers booked on those are being offered a number of different transatlantic sailings.

Guests booked on any of the canceled trips are being given the opportunity to move to different European sailings.


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