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Sept. 10 update: Carnival facilitates COVID testing, Princess delays Hawaii start, Aurora strengthens protocols

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Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-recovery cruise news. This is being updated throughout the day.

Carnival Corp. &  plc is rolling out a new initiative making pre-cruise COVID-19 testing more convenient and accessible for travelers on Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn.

Testing will be available at more than 1,500 Quest Diagnostics patient service centers and retail pharmacy testing locations throughout the US.

Currently, all passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before their embarkation, along with additional health and safety requirements. Beginning Sept. 13, in accordance with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directives, all vaccinated travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than two days before their embarkation. For example, if a cruise leaves on Saturday, the test should be scheduled the Thursday before embarking.

The pre-board test (molecular or antigen) is one of the added measures recently implemented by the lines.

Travelers may schedule testing with Quest Diagnostics at more than 1,500 locations, including Quest Diagnostics patient service centers and select Walmart and other retail pharmacy locations throughout the US. Appointments are required and may be scheduled online via secure link provided by Carnival, Princess, HAL and Seabourn. Results are typically available within 48 hours via email or mobile application.

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Princess Hawaii cruises will now start in January

Princess delays Hawaii start until January

Princess Cruises cited operational restrictions in delaying it Hawaii restart until January. Hawaii cruises have been replaced up to and including the Dec. 22 departure with alternative itineraries sailing from Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Travelers have the option of moving to an equivalent cruise with their current fare protected, or a 100% future cruise credit that's refundable and may be used for any departure by Dec. 31, 2022, or a full refund.

Passengers who would still like to travel in 2021 will get a $100 per person on-board credit (for the first two people in the stateroom) on a cruise departing from Los Angeles or San Francisco.

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Fresh, not recirculated air, on Sylvia Earle, now scheduled for 2022/23 start

Aurora beefs up Health & Safety Program

Monique Ponfoort, CEO of Australia’s Aurora Expeditions, said the company has updated its Health & Safety Program developed in partnership with local health crisis management company Respond Global.

Respond Global worked with Coral Expeditions to develop its SailSAFE plan and Respond Global’s founder and MD Dr Ian Norton will be a guest speaker at the 2021 Australian Cruise Association annual conference scheduled for Townsville on November 10-12.

All crew, expedition team members and passengers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 four weeks before embarkation and proof of vaccination is required.

Passengers will be required to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours of embarkation and may have to undergo an antigen test at embarkation. They must have travel insurance that includes medical evacuation.

A key component of the Health & Safety Program will be rapid on-site PCR testing machines on every voyage and an emergency medical team, including doctors and nurses with current training in public health protocols and outbreak prevention and management protocols. Passengers will be accompanied by a medic at each landing.

There is no recirculation of air throughout Aurora's ships, with fresh air in every cabin.

The new Sylvia Earle is now scheduled to enter service for Aurora’s 2022-23 season. 

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