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Aug. 23 update: Crystal from Boston, Carnival tightens vaccine mandate, Vikand and Bupa enable Fred. Olsen testing, Costa lawsuit, new NCL 'Embark'

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Carnival's new policy applies to ships departing from Atlantic and Gulf homeports, including Carnival Vista from Galveston
Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-related cruise news. This has been updated throughout the day.

Crystal Symphony first cruise ship to resume from Boston

Crystal Symphony departed today as the first cruise ship to resume sailing from Boston since the industry shutdown.

This is the first of four round-trips to Bermuda that will depart Sundays. The ship’s departure was delayed by one day due to Hurricane Henri.

Crystal Symphony's Boston program will be followed by eight Bermuda cruises round-trip New York beginning Sept. 24 with Friday to Friday itineraries.

Carnival: 12 and up must be vaccinated on cruises from Atlantic, Gulf homeports

Effective Aug. 28 through October on Carnival Cruise Line departures from all Atlantic and Gulf homeports, only children under 12 and adults with a medical condition that prohibits their COVID-19 vaccination are exempt from vaccination requirements to sail.

Carnival said any travelers who have received an exemption applicable through October have been informed of this change, and the line is notifying everyone that exemptions beyond these two categories are rescinded.

This includes but goes beyond sailings to the Bahamas, which recently insituted the requirement that all cruisers 12 and older must be vaccinated for ships to call.

Carnival's voyages already meet the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of a vaccinated cruise in that at least 95% of passengers and crew are fully vaccinated. All crew are vaccinated, and more than 95% of passengers — with the exception a small number of capacity-controlled exemptions that are approved for children under 12 and certain adults who are unable to be vaccinated.

Per the protocols already in place, all Carnival passengers are required to confirm their vaccination status and show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test. 

Vikand facilitates return testing by Bupa for Fred. Olsen

Vikand Solutions is working with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and healthcare provider Bupa to provide COVID-19 PCR testing for Borealis, which just completed its first international cruise from the UK, carrying 765 passengers.

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Borealis just completed its first international cruise from the UK

'Testing is a critical part of our approach. We value the support of Vikand and Bupa to provide a safe and efficient service for our guests both on board and on their return home,' said Peter Deer, managing director, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

While currently supplying Fred. Olsen with PCR tests to comply with pre-arrival testing requirements for the UK, Vikand facilitated PCR tests through healthcare provider Bupa to further meet UK requirements for return testing.

'The simplicity of the return-testing solution Bupa, Fred. Olsen and Vikand have engineered establishes a best practice template to meet COVID criteria and governmental guidance,' said Paul Morgan, VP compliance and quality assurance, Vikand.

US court upholds forum selection clause in Costa Luminosa case

The US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a District Court ruling that required a plaintiff to bring his putative class action suit against Costa Cruises in Genoa, Italy.

Plaintiff Paul Turner alleges negligence in Costa's handling of a COVID-19 outbreak on Costa Luminosa during a trans-Atlantic voyage beginning March 5, 2020, at Fort Lauderdale.

In purchasing his ticket, Turner, a Wisconsin resident, agreed to the 'Passage Ticket Contract' which provided that any claim be instituted only in the courts of Genoa, where Costa is based. The 11th Circuit Court upheld the forum selection clause in the ticket contract. 

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Norwegian Jade began sailing from Piraeus in late July

NCL's next Embark episode to air Sept. 9

The next episode of Norwegian Cruise Line's Embark series, 'Welcome Aboard,' is set to premiere at 8 p.m. EDT Sept. 9 at www.ncl.com/embark and Facebook.

NCL's five-part docuseries chronicling its return to cruising continues with a behind-the-scenes look at how Norwegian Jade became the first ship in the fleet to welcome passengers back after 500 days.