Carnival Cruise's COVID-19 Policies Just Got a Major Update

Before you get ready to set sail, you should check these changes out.

Editor's Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. Should you travel now, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC's latest guidance on domestic and international travel as well as local requirements, protocols, and restrictions for both your destination upon your arrival and your home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

It was just the other month that major cruise companies like Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line announced that they were significantly easing up their COVID-19 policies, and now its nautical peers are following suit. Carnival Cruise Line dropped most of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions this week. But the changes the cruise line made to its policies are a bit more complicated than you may think.

Let's start with the simple stuff. If you're traveling with Carnival on a cruise that takes place over the course of 15 nights or less, the cruise line no longer requires proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing prior to your departure.

Despite the change in policy, a spokesperson for the company was careful to note the importance of testing in an email to USA Today, stating that “irrespective of vaccination status, we encourage all guests five years and older to test three days prior to their cruise.”

Now here's where it gets a bit more complicated. Those 18 years or older who are sailing on trips that span the course of 16 nights or more will still be required to be fully vaccinated. Under this same travel category, any passenger over the age of five will also have to have a PCR or antigen test taken within three days prior to sailing. Self-tests will not be accepted.

It might sound like a lot to digest, and that reference may be unsettling if you've recently seen Triangle of Sadness, but there's a bit more ground to cover. Those traveling on cruises of 16 nights or more will also have to have received their booster shots if they received their primary shots more than six months ago.

If you're unvaccinated, you'll have to apply for an exemption. In a statement on their website, Carnival announced that said applications would be available at the top of next year.

One last caveat, if you're traveling to Grand Turk or Colombia, proof of vaccination is required no matter how long, or short, your trip is. Those 18 years or older will also have to remain on the ship once it's docked.

Check out the Carnival Cruise website for more details on the company's policy changes.

Other major cruise lines are also revisiting their COVID-19 policies lately. USA Today noted that Princess Cruises made similar changes to Carnival last week, and Norwegian Cruise Line also eased up its vaccination requirements in August.

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Jeremy Porr is a News Writer at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on Instagram.