Major Cruise Lines Will Now Require COVID-19 Testing Prior to Embarkation
As travelers slowly wade back into the waters of travel, cruise lines are finding ways to ease concerns about the close quarters and communal nature of their seafaring vessels. Now, several major cruise companies have agreed to implement new regulations that will require passengers to prove their negative COVID-19 status before embarking on any ships.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents major cruise lines around the world, recently released a statement that all of its members worldwide have agreed to test passengers and crews on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 people or more. Only those with a negative test result will be allowed to embark.
“We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry’s commitment to making health, safety, and the well-being of passengers, the crews, and the communities we visit our top priority,” the statement said.
CLIA represents 95% of the global ocean-going cruise capacity, with prominent members including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and MSC Cruises. While most of these cruise lines have canceled their sailings through November, they may be revving up for a return to their North American ports before the end of the year.
Other regulations that CLIA’s members must follow include physical distancing in terminals, on board ships, on private islands, and during shore excursions; mandatory wearing of masks on board and during shore excursions when physical distancing is not possible; implementing air management and ventilation strategies to increase fresh air on board; allocating dedicated cabin capacity for isolation and other operational measures; and organizing advance arrangements with private providers for shoreside quarantine, medical facilities, and transportation.
Several governments around the world still advise against cruising. In the U.S., the no-sail order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to expire on Oct. 31.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.