Here’s your weekly cruise news update, primarily from Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean as protocols continue to ease. We also have coverage at one of the busiest cruise ports, where passengers could experience significant delays, but it’s not as bad as you might think.
Cruise News Update
It was another big week for the cruise industry as major cruise lines continued to relax requirements, making it even easier to cruise.
So we have protocol updates from Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, including authorized self-testing. There’s also coverage on Royal Caribbean tips and expected long delays at one of the busiest cruise home ports in the United States, but it’s not as bad as you might think!
Royal Caribbean Complimentary Increase
For the first time since 2018, Royal Caribbean raises tips and has already begun to include the new superior in the documentation sent to guests. For standard cabins, the rate increases by $1.50 and for those booked in suites by $1.
This now means that the new daily rate for cabins is $16.00 per person. For suites, the new daily rate is $18.50 per person. The increase will take effect from September 7, 2022.
Previously, the stateroom rate was $14.50 and the suite rate was $17.50. It is also important to know that the new increased rate is now displayed on the official website. Customers will be able to prepay and lock in the previous lower tip rate before September 7.
An automatic 18% gratuity applies when purchasing beverages, using room service and mini bar. Certain departments are also not included in gratuities, such as the crew working in the Spa, Casino and Duty-Free shops.
Port Canaveral delays for Moon launch day
Cruise guests in Port Canaveral on Monday August 29, 2022, should be prepared for traffic delays as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) attempts to launch Artemis 1 from Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center north of the harbor.
With a two-hour morning launch window opening at 8:33 a.m., heavy traffic and congestion could impact both cruise passengers disembarking the ships as well as those arriving to set sail.
Five cruise ships due to dock in Port Canaveral on historic launch day: Royal Caribbean International’s sailor of the seas and independence of the seas; Carnival Cruise Line Freedom Carnival and Liberty Carnival; and Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, Disney Wish.
Together, these ships have a passenger capacity of over 18,200. Taking into account both passengers disembarking at the end of their cruise and passengers arriving ready to set sail, there may be 36,000 or more passengers traveling to and from Port Canaveral at the time of launch.
Meanwhile, local authorities are expecting 100,000 to 200,000 or more visitors to the region ahead of the launch of Artemis 1.
Port Canaveral advises additional travel time for launch day. Even guests who may have arrived near Port Canaveral a day or two before their cruise should note that local traffic will be heavy and may cause delays between hotels and the cruise port.
While cruise passengers may face delays, this is a unique opportunity to watch the historic launch, guests could get some of the best views in the area.
Royal Caribbean Facility Requirements
In a simplification of its protocols, Royal Caribbean International has announced that from Monday, September 5, 2022, all guests – regardless of their vaccination status – will be welcomed on board a wider variety of itineraries. Available routes include:
- All departures from Florida homeports
- All sailings departing from Los Angeles, CA; Galveston, TX; and New Orleans, Louisiana
- All Oasis of the seas departures from Cape Liberty, New Jersey
- All crossings from any European home port
- All departures to and from Greece
Certain testing guidelines remain in effect for Royal Caribbean customers. For European cruises that stop in Greece or Spain, for example, any traveler who is not considered “up to date” according to the guidelines in Europe, must take a test on board their ship before disembarking.
In addition to further opening up cruise itineraries to more passengers, Royal Caribbean International has also further simplified its pre-cruise testing requirements.
As of September 5, 2022, fully vaccinated passengers will no longer require a negative pre-cruise test result for any sailings of 9 nights or less, except on cruises that visit Greece.
Unvaccinated passengers aged 5 and over should always take a test before departing, but can do so up to three days before embarkation, regardless of the length of the cruise. Self-tests will be accepted for these pre-cruise tests.
All passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, must continue to test themselves before any cruise of 10 nights or more, regardless of where they are sailing.
Note that cruise line protocols are changing rapidly and some Caribbean cruise destinations have also relaxed requirements recently, so keep checking back for the latest cruise line news.
Updated Carnival protocols for two ships
Carnival Cruise Line has made some changes to cruises sailing in Europe, specifically for onboard cruises Carnival Pride and the first transatlantic crossing from Southampton on board Carnival Celebration Later this year.
In a letter sent to customers who booked aboard a cruise sailing to or from Europe this year, Carnival Crusie Line provided updated health and safety measures that customers will need to adhere to.
The changes are for Carnival Pride, which sails several UK, Western and Northern Europe and Mediterranean cruises through November. The new protocols also apply to Carnival Celebrationwhich is making its first transatlantic voyage and first-ever cruise from Southampton, UK, on November 6.
For all cruises except those visiting Greece and Spain, all unvaccinated passengers aged five and over must provide a negative result from a laboratory administered or supervised (by a medical professional ), a self-administered PCR or antigen test taken up to 3 days before boarding.
For cruises visiting Greece, all passengers five years and older must have a negative result from a PCR test taken within three days of departure or an antigen test within two days of departure. This is particularly relevant for those who navigate on board Carnival Pride.
For cruises that visit Spain, which includes both Carnival Celebration and Carnival Prideall unvaccinated passengers, aged 12 and over, must present negative results of a PCR test taken within three days of departure or of an antigen test within two days of departure.
Carnival Cruise Line allows self-testing
As travel restrictions around the world continue to ease for different cruise destinations, Carnival Cruise Line has again updated its testing protocols.
The new update clarifies the use of home self-teststhat do not require a healthcare professional to monitor the test and results.
All unvaccinated cruise passengers sailing with Carnival Cruise Line on or after Monday, September 6, 2022 must still show a negative test result to be allowed to board, but the type of test may vary depending on the cruise destination.
For most destinations, Carnival will begin allowing customers to use self-tests, which can be administered at home and do not require the supervision of a doctor, pharmacist or telehealth visit.
Controlled testing or those performed in a clinical setting are still acceptable, of course, but the self-testing option opens up more options for cruise travelers, making pre-cruise testing more convenient and less cumbersome. when it comes to last minute travel arrangements.
Self-tests are only acceptable for sailings of 15 nights or less. Customers should also note that some destinations do not allow self-testing.
Regardless of the type of test carried out – whether it is a self-test, a monitored home test or a laboratory test – unvaccinated passengers will be required to present their negative test results within the boarding framework.
Carnival Cruise Line encourages customers to use the free VeriFLY app for smoother and faster boarding, but advises that printed test results can also be shown.
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It’s just been another busy week of cruise news, and we’ve got all the coverage, including Royal Caribbean detailing cruises to Singapore all year roundreservations open for the Luminous Carnivalthe rise of celebrities cruise ship achieve an important milestone in the constructioncarnival cruise ship rescue at sea, MSC Seascape complete sea trialsThe Bahamas plans to relax the requirements for cruise ship visitors and much more, which you can Check here.