Carnival Corp., Quest Diagnostics Offer Cruisers Access to COVID Tests

Carnival Corporation announced a new initiative to make pre-boarding, viral COVID-19 testing more convenient and accessible for guests of Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn. Guests will now be able to access testing at more than 1,500 Quest Diagnostics patient service centers and select Walmart and other retail pharmacy testing locations throughout the U.S.

Carnival does not pay for the testing, which remains the guest's responsibility (although insurance or the government often may cover that testing). So, it's possible there may be no costs but that varies across providers and individual situations. That said, the program is designed to help streamline pre-cruise preparation for guests. 

Currently, all guests boarding ships of the four brands must—regardless of vaccination status—present a negative COVID-19 viral test taken no more than three days before their embarkation, along with additional health and safety requirements. Beginning September 13, 2021 and after, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directives, all vaccinated guests must present a negative COVID-19 viral test taken no more than two days before their embarkation. For example, if a cruise leaves on a Saturday, guests should schedule their tests for the Thursday before embarking the ship.

Details about requirements are available on the individual cruise lines' websites. Appointments are required and may be scheduled online via a secure link provided by Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line or Seabourn.

Results are typically available within 48 hours via email or mobile application. The company's press release noted, however, that turnaround time can fluctuate with demand, supplies and other factors, and vary by region.

The pre-board test (molecular or antigen) is one of the added measures recently implemented by the company’s cruise lines. Carnival Corporation said the enhanced health and safety protocols are needed in adapting to the evolving public health environment.

"Access to testing continues to play an important role in the restart of our guest operations, and working with Quest simplifies the process for our guests by making it easier to access convenient testing options from a trusted national laboratory provider,” says Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation.

Frizzell notes that the testing protocols are part of a layered approach to safeguarding the health and safety of guests, crew and the communities visited during cruises. Details about all the individual brand heath and safety protocols are available at individual cruise brand Web sites. 

In addition, guests are being encouraged by Carnival Corporation to check with their own health plan or the lab provider to see if they are eligible before actually scheduling a test. They're also being directed to for additional information on testing services.

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