MSC Cruises Updates Testing Requirements
Like Royal Caribbean Group and Carnival Cruise Line last week, MSC Cruises has now updated its pre-cruise testing requirements.
Starting August 8th, fully vaccinated guests departing from U.S. ports on cruises five nights or less won’t need to present a negative test to sail. They’ll need to take one within three days of embarkation for voyages six nights or longer.
Unvaccinated guests ages 2-11 must show proof of a negative test taken within three days as well, no matter the length of the cruise.
Currently, MSC still requires that all passengers 12 and older be vaccinated to sail. Booster shots are not mandatory.
In the press release announcing the changes, MSC said its next goal is to “relax testing and vaccination protocols to open cruising to all guests.”
Carnival Has Welcomed 3 Million Guests Since July 2021
Since its restart in July 2021, Carnival Cruise Line has welcomed 3 million guests across its 23-ship fleet.
The cruise line’s ships are expected to reach nearly 110 percent occupancy this summer, as it has carried an average of 95,000 guests per week since May. In the past year, Carnival ships have made over three thousand port call visits at 92 different ports. Over a quarter of the line’s calls during that time have been to Mexico, half to the island of Cozumel.
This November, two more ships will join the Carnival fleet as the next Excel-class ship Carnival Celebration launches, and Costa Luminosa becomes Carnival Luminosa and begins sailings from Australia.
Glacier Bay Begins New Cruise Ship Inspection Program
Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska has begun a new environmental inspection program focused on large cruise ships that enter the park.
Through the program, independent inspectors will board ships unannounced to assess operations, including wastewater management, emissions, and marine mammal protection.
The program is funded entirely by the cruise industry, but the inspectors will report directly to Glacier Bay managers. Three Carnival Corporation cruise lines have already signed contracts with third-party inspectors. Norwegian Cruise Line is expected to sign one shortly.
In the past, the Ocean Ranger program was responsible for cruise ship accountability. However, that program was dissolved and inspectors with knowledge of ship operations haven’t boarded ships that enter the park since the resumption of Alaska cruising in June 2021.