Carnival Cruise Line Strengthens Mask Policy Amid Omicron Variant Spread

The new mask protocols will be in place through at least Jan. 31, 2022.

Carnival Cruise Line strengthened its onboard mask policy amid the spread of the omicron variant, the latest cruise line to implement stricter protocols to prevent transmission of the virus.

Going forward, all guests 2 years old and older will be "requested" to wear masks in indoor public spaces, except when eating and drinking, according to Carnival. The new mask protocols will be in place through at least Jan. 31, 2022.

Travelers must also wear masks during embarkation and debarkation, including in ports of call, as well as during any Carnival-approved shore excursions.

Additionally, in the casino, there will be no smoking allowed and passengers will have to "sip and cover" when drinking.

"Carnival Cruise Line is dedicated to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit. Our… protocols have proven very effective during our restart and have been developed in consultation with our medical experts, and they are designed to be adaptable as the current public health situation evolves," the company wrote. "We expect these measures will be temporary and will adjust our protocols based on the advice of our medical and public health advisors."

Carnival cruise ship floating in water
Courtesy Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival requires all guests to be vaccinated to board a cruise, with limited exceptions granted for children and guests who provide a doctor's note saying they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Vaccinated passengers must also get tested within two days of embarking.

Carnival joins both Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, each of which strengthened their mask protocols this week amid the emergence of the omicron variant and following outbreaks onboard their ships.

On Royal Caribbean, 48 guests and crew tested positive for COVID-19 on the company's Symphony of the Seas over the weekend. And Norwegian, which mandates 100% of guests and crew be vaccinated to sail, saw at least 17 passengers and crew test positive for COVID-19 on its Norwegian Breakaway ship earlier this month.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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