CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Carnival Cruise Lines has updated its face mask policy, effective with cruises departing Aug. 7, and adopted a new COVID-19 testing policy as of Aug. 14, the company announced on its website.

What You Need To Know

  • Carnival tightens mask policy, implements new COVID testing rules

  • Face-covering changes go into effect Aug. 7, and testing updates start Aug. 14

  • Passengers will be asked to wear masks 'in certain indoor areas'

  • The updated rules will continue through Oct. 31

The changes, which will continue through Oct. 31, come as the number of new COVID cases surges throughout the United States. The moves follow “a small number of positive cases” discovered aboard a cruise on the Carnival Vista sailing out of Galveston, Texas.

“Carnival will continue to operate with vaccinated cruises as defined by the CDC, including having its crew fully vaccinated. However, in an abundance of caution, and following the lead of similar sectors and venues – including Nevada casinos, Disney theme parks, and Broadway theaters – all guests will be asked to wear masks in certain indoor areas of Carnival’s ships.”

The new testing policy requires all fully vaccinated guests to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within three days of arriving to get on the ship. Testing in the terminal will not be available. Vaccinated guests are required to come with their negative test results and proof of vaccination for boarding.

Guests who are unvaccinated will continue to be required to have pre-cruise PCR testing, testing prior to boarding, and testing within 24 hours of completing cruises of five days or longer. Unvaccinated guests approved for an exemption are charged $150 for testing and health screening costs. For cruises departing from Florida and Texas, unvaccinated guests are also required to show proof of insurance.

“These new requirements are being implemented to protect our guests and crew while on board, and to continue to provide confidence to our home ports and destinations that we are doing our part to support their efforts to protect public health and safety,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We expect these requirements will be temporary and appreciate the cooperation of our guests. Our first month of guest operations has been met with tremendous enthusiasm and very positive guest feedback, and we are committed to continue our restart with both fun and safety in mind.”

Details are available on Carnival's website.

On July 31, Carnival's Mardi Gras set sail for the cruise line's first voyage out of Port Canaveral in about 18 months because of restrictions put on the industry because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cruise was the first for the ship and the first out of a new terminal at the Port.