Carnival Cruise Line has reintroduced mask and vaccine mandates on its ships following a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Australia and an outbreak on board its ship, the Majestic Princess.
An online statement from Carnival on Friday said: “In line with government protocols, until further notice, we will operate vaccinated cruises with our enhanced protocols.
“Out of an abundance of caution, for the time being, masks are required in public indoor spaces”.
Passengers will also be required to wear masks outdoors at events where physical distancing isn’t possible, on company transfers, and during embarkation and debarkation.
The reintroduction of masks on cruise ships comes as NSW Health recommends the wearing of masks on public transport to help stop the spread. As of the week ending November 12, NSW recorded 22,672 people with COVID-19, up 58.8 per cent on the previous week.
In a statement, a Carnival Cruise Line spokesperson said: “At a time when Australia is faced with a rapid rise of COVID cases, it’s critical everyone plays their part in keeping the community safe, and we thank our guests for abiding by our requirements.”
The spokesperson added that for all vessels in the Carnival Corporation fleet operating in the Australian region, “this means going above current guidelines.”
“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.”
Carnival Corporation brands now enforcing mask mandates and other new COVID-19 safety protocols include P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O Cruises World Cruising.
Under the new requirements, 100 per cent of crew and 95 per cent of guests over the age of 12 must be vaccinated, and those with medical exemptions will only be accommodated within the 5 per cent of unvaccinated passengers.
Passengers will also need to complete health screening declarations before boarding, and return a negative COVID test before they are permitted to board, among other new temporary protocols.
The announcement comes after Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess cruise ship reported an estimated 800 of 3300 guests testing positive COVID-19 as it docked in Sydney last weekend.
The outbreak occurred during a 12-day cruise to New Zealand, with a Princess Cruises spokesperson describing those infected as presenting “mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic”.
Guests with COVID remained in isolation in their rooms before disembarking and travelling to a destination of their choosing via private transport arranged by the company.
More to come.