Carnival Cruise Line brings back COVID-19 protocols to Australia

Carnival Cruise Line brings back COVID-19 protocols to Australia

An aerial image of the Carnival Cruise Line cruise ship Carnival Spirit at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay in March (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Carnival Corporation brings back COVID-19 protocols, such as masks, for current cruises in Australia after hundreds of passengers were recently infected with the virus.

The company has updated its guidelines and now requires masks for passengers as well as the completion of a health questionnaire before sailing. Vaccinations are also required for many crew members and passengers, with a few exceptions.

“As per government protocols, until further notice, we will be operating vaccinated cruises with our enhanced protocols,” the company said on its website.

The BBC recently reported that 800 passengers were infected with COVID-19 on the Majestic Princess after arriving at Circular Quay, after departing New Zealand.

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Marguerite Fitzgerald, president of cruise line Carnival Australia, told the outlet that many cases had been detected halfway through the 12-day voyage. She said many infected passengers had mild or no symptoms.

According to the Australian government, COVID-19 cases are starting to rise slowly, but are well below the surge at the start of the year.

Cruises have been hit hard since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Cruise ship operators have complained since the start of the pandemic that their industry has been singled out for a shutdown, then restrictions COVID-19 stricter than others, including airlines.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention halted all cruises for what turned out to be 15 months. In June 2021, it allowed ships to resume sailing under strict new conditions. In August, as the delta variant increased, the agency warned people at risk of serious illness despite being vaccinated not to go on cruises.

In March 2022, federal health officials dropped the warning they had attached to cruising since the pandemic began, leaving vacationers to decide whether they feel safe boarding a vessel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.

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