Carnival Cruises is dropping the unvaccinated guest exemption request and easing testing requirements

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Carnival Cruise Line is relaxing testing requirements for vaccinated passengers and allowing unvaccinated guests to travel without exemption.

The cruise line will no longer require tests for vaccinated passengers who stay on board for less than 16 nights. In addition, unvaccinated guests no longer have to submit exemption requests.

The Carnival Freedom, shown here in Italy in 2007. (Victor Sokolowicz/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“Carnival is pleased to announce new policies applicable to cruises departing September 6, 2022 or later that will make it easier for more guests to sail with simplified vaccination and testing policies, including no testing for vaccinated guests on cruises of less than 16 nights and abolition of the exemption request process for unvaccinated guests who only need to present a negative test result upon embarkation,” the company announced on Saturday.

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Vaccinated guests “still have to prove their vaccination status before embarkation,” according to the new guidelines.

Carnival Freedom Key West Florida

Passengers board the Carnival Freedom in February 2013 in Key West, Florida. (Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images/Reuters)

But unvaccinated passengers “are welcome to sail and no longer need to apply for a vaccination exemption, except when cruising in Australia or on voyages of 16 nights and longer”.

Unvaccinated passengers must present a negative COVID-19 test within three days of departure.

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Cruises longer than 16 nights remain subject to their own restrictions.

The cruise industry is once again sailing in troubled waters as it grapples with a storm of job problems, scorching inflation and a looming recession, having barely recovered from the blows of an 18-month shutdown due to the pandemic.

Carnival Queen Maria

Carnival Corp’s Queen Mary 2 cruise ship (iStock / iStock)

The industry employs about 250,000 workers from over 100 countries, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, and their jobs range from ship captain to cocktail mixer.

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However, cruise lines are still optimistic about the industry’s longer-term recovery, although the strength of the summer sailing season, which typically accounts for a large portion of operating revenues, still lies in tatters.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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