Carnival Cruise Line has become the latest major cruise company to announce that passengers who are unvaccinated or do not want to reveal their vaccination status will have to purchase extra insurance and pay for onboard Covid testing when cruising from Florida ports.
Voyages from other ports are for vaccinated passengers only. Carnival is allowing unvaccinated passengers from Florida because local laws do not allow companies to ask about customers' vaccination status.
On the insurance front, passengers will have to purchase a comprehensive insurance policy that will cover a minimum of $10,000 in medical expenses and $30,000 in emergency medical evacuation "without COVID-19 exclusions," according to Carnival's website.
Children ages 12 and under are exempt from the rule. All other unvaccinated cruisers must have proof of insurance in order to board.
"Consistent with the practices of other lines who are also restarting their operations, and in the best interests of our guests who are unvaccinated, this is important coverage to have should [passengers] encounter a medical situation during their cruise," Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen told USA Today.
Unvaccinated passengers must also pay a $150 fee for any Covid-19 testing they're required to undergo while onboard.
These new fees and protocols go into effect Friday, July 30.
All of these requirements mirror policies put in place by Royal Caribbean and sister line Celebrity Cruises at the end of June.
There's been no word yet whether Carnival's sibling cruise lines—Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, and Costa Cruises—will follow suit, but that sure seems likely.
Also unclear is whether Carnival will bar unvaccinated guests from certain cruise facilities, as Royal Caribbean has announced it will do.
Under that company's rules, unvaccinated cruisers won't be allowed into certain showrooms, bars, specialty restaurants, casinos, and spas.
On its website at the moment, Carnival says that passengers on "vaccinated cruises" won't have to wear masks and will be allowed to take the line's shore excursions and debark in ports. But the company hasn't announced yet what the protocols will be on cruises that have both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers.
What we do know is that those who aren't yet fully vaccinated but want to take a cruise will pay significantly more than passengers who've gotten their shots.
Carnival has long had a strong following in parts of the United States where vaccination rates are low. Perhaps this additional incentive will persuade more Americans to protect themselves, their communities, and their fellow cruisers by getting the vaccine.