The trend in cruising has been an easing of Covid rules, and frankly, a return to how cruising was before the pandemic. But cruise lines have been clear that rules could change in the face of rising cases. Now, one cruise company is doing exactly that.
According to the Daily Mail, Carnival Corporation — which operates Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises — has put masking rules in place on cruises from Australia.
“We can confirm that mask wearing is being applied on board all Carnival Corporation brand ships operating in Australia and the region as an additional safeguard in light of the current rate of covid-19 in the general community,” the outlet reported as a statement from the company.
Meanwhile, the rules posted on the cruise lines’ respective websites confirm the protocols.
On Carnival Cruise Line’s Australian Covid-19 protocols page, a notice shows it as last being updated on November 17. There, it says the following about masking:
“Out of an abundance of caution, for the time being, masks are required in public indoor spaces (unless eating and drinking or in your stateroom), outdoors when in large congregate events where physical distancing cannot be maintained, during the entire embarkation and debarkation process, when on buses or water shuttles (where applicable), and while indoors on any shore excursion.”
- Carnival Australia
Princess offers a similar notice on its Frequently Asked Questions for Australian cruises. In a post marked as “Updated,” the cruise line says that:
“Effective immediately, we will require all guests and crew to wear masks in all indoor settings. Masking requirements may change at any time, so we ask for flexibility from our guests. Guests are advised to check with Guest Services if they have any concerns.”
We also checked Royal Caribbean, which at this time doesn’t say it requires masks on their cruises from Australia, but does say “guests should wear a mask while travelling through the terminal and in public indoor spaces or crowded outdoor spaces onboard.”
Norwegian Cruise Line, which sails from Sydney beginning in December, makes no mention of mask requirements.
According to the Daily Mail, this change comes on the heels of one Princess ship arriving into port in Sydney last week with hundreds of Covid-positive cases on the ship. As well, cases in general have risen in Australia recently, though not near the levels seen earlier in the year.
To be clear, this change does not apply to cruises from the United States at this time. However, it is good evidence that while we’ve all enjoyed relaxed protocols with falling cases, there is always the potential that the rules could change.