Carnival Cruises to end mask mandate onboard

Three other major cruise lines have already removed the requirement

Lucy Thackray
Monday 21 February 2022 13:06 GMT
MS Carnival Valor, owned by Carnival Cruise Lines
MS Carnival Valor, owned by Carnival Cruise Lines (Getty Images)

Carnival Corporation has announced that it will scrap its mandatory mask rule for passengers on all of its cruise brands from 1 March.

An update to the cruise group’s website guidelines says: “Effective with sailings departing 1 March, masks are recommended on board but not required. However, masks may be required in certain venues and events. Please pay close attention to onboard signage.”

Passengers on Carnival lines - which include Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Seabourn and Princess Cruises - will still need to wear masks during busy periods such as boarding and disembarking the vessel, but not while mingling aboard the ships.

The brand also announced that, from 1 March, passengers who have had a booster jab will be able to take their pre-departure Covid test within the three days before travel, rather than two.

At the moment, all passengers aged two and over must provide a negative test result for travel, though a Carnival spokesperson said they are looking to raise the minimum age to five.

“We have had a very successful restart of guest operations thanks to the support of our guests, the commitment of our shipboard team, and the effective protocols we have put in place,” said Carnival’s president, Christine Duffy, in a statement.

The move follows the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowering its risk alert for cruises from level four to level three on Friday.

The CDC had added cruise travel to its “Level four” highest-risk list shortly before Christmas, following several high-profile outbreaks on cruise ships, where 40 or more passengers tested positive on one voyage.

Disney World, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Lines have all announced that they will end their mask mandates onboard all cruises.

Carnival Corporation’s multiple brands mean it carries a huge number of passengers annually - pre-pandemic, it peaked at 13 million cruisers during 2019.

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