Cruises: Seabourn’s New Rules for COVID-19

Cruises: Seabourn's New Rules for COVID-19

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Carnival Cruises (CCL), Which Also Owns Seabourn, Cunard, Princess, and Holland America, Posted Some New Health and Safety Rules as part of disclosures required under the CDC's Conditional Sailing Order. Subsequently, Carnival withdrew its post, noting that the guidelines had not yet been finalized, but that guests should expect to wear face masks, COVID-19 testing, and social distancing, among other protocols, and that more details would be provided in the coming weeks.

Even though not finalized, the originally posted guidelines are helpful as a sense for what to expect on Seabourn and Carnival's other cruise ships:

COVID-19 Testing

All guests 2 years old and older must provide a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken 5 days-24 hours prior to embarkation; the guest is responsible for the cost of this test.

Any additional testing performed in the cruise ship terminal or on board the ship by testing providers employed by Carnival will be included in the cruise fare, at no additional charge. All guests must complete a health questionnaire beginning 72 hours prior to the date of embarkation to identify any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (or other infectious diseases) and any contact with individuals confirmed to have COVID-19 prior to the cruise. All guests will have their temperature taken as part of embarkation.

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Staggered Embarkation Times

All guests must complete their online check-in no later than midnight (Eastern time) prior to their sailing date. During online check-in guests will select an arrival appointment time. Guests must arrive within their appointment time to enable social distancing during check-in and boarding. Arriving early or late will result in a wait.

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Temperature Checks and Medical Screening

Guests may be required to undergo temperature checks at least daily and must submit to any requested medical screening during the cruise. Temperature checks may also be conducted prior to disembarking at a port of call and before participating in certain onboard activities. Guests have the personal responsibility to immediately report any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to the ship’s medical personnel.

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Face Masks

All guests two years and older must wear a mask when indoors except when inside their own stateroom, while eating and drinking while seated at a table, and when using the cardio equipment at the gym if physical distancing is maintained.

Guests must also wear a mask outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Masks should have two or more layers and be worn over the nose and mouth. Gaiters and bandanas are not allowed, and face shields are permitted only when used with a mask.

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Reduced Capacity in Public Spaces

To maintain physical distancing, Carnival will restrict access to public spaces, and venues/activities will operate at reduced capacity. There may be a reservation system for public areas including pools, gyms, casinos, restaurants, bars and shows/entertainment venues.

Guests can expect appropriately distanced seating in theaters, restaurants and other common venues, modified entertainment showings and meal services to control capacity as well as other measures. Buffet service will be modified to eliminate or severely restrict self-service items.

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Shore Excursions

Carnival has worked closely with officials in the ports where its ships will call to develop protocols for passenger excursions. During the initial return to sailing, guests will be restricted to excursions or activities led by vetted tour operators who maintain Carnival’s level of COVID-19 controls. Self-exploration or non-Carnival sponsored excursions will not be permitted. 

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The Upshot

Again, Carnival maintains that the above new rules haven't been finalized, but none of them are surprising, given the CDC's Conditional Sailing Order. It's in cruise lines' best interest to be strict with enforcement of the rules, since all COVID-19 cases must be immediately reported to the U.S. CDC, and if a certain threshold of COVID cases occurs on board, the cruise line must end the cruise, isolate each infected passenger in a single occupancy cabin while quarantining all other passengers and non-essential crew, and disembark passengers using only non-commercial transportation.

If you expect to cruise post-pandemic, what health and safety measures do you expect to see a cruise line enforce?

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