Carnival Cruise Line-Approved COVID-19 Home Tests, Explained

Carnival Panorama

As the cruise industry is adapting to the new CDC regulation stating that all passengers must test negative against coronavirus no more than two days before sailing, cruisers may be troubled by more worries ahead of their holidays.

In a bid to alleviate some of the difficulties, Carnival Cruise Line has announced that it will accept specific home tests for fully vaccinated travelers wanting to sail with the cruise line.

According to Carnival’s website, a medically observed self-test (sometimes referred to as home test) used by guests must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be a COVID-19 viral test (NAAT or antigen test) with Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA);
  • The testing procedure must include a telehealth service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. Some FDA-authorized self-tests that include a telehealth service may require a prescription;
  • The telehealth provider must confirm the person’s identity, observe the specimen collection and testing procedures, confirm the test result, and issue a report that meets the requirements of acceptable proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Carnival has recommended using an Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test, which includes a viral antigen home test and the services of an eMed telemedicine professional who will supervise the administration of the home test.

The test provider must provide guests with an official test result; no handwritten report. Results are provided in approximately 15 minutes, and test kits are available to be shipped in 50 states. The home test (including two tests) costs $69.99 when it is purchased via the Optum Store. 

The new changes come as the CDC announced that as of Sept. 13, 2021, pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests must be taken within two days prior to the sailing date, as opposed to three. So, if the sailing is on Saturday, the test may be taken on Thursday, Friday, or even as late as Saturday as long as the guest is guaranteed to receive their results in time for check-in.

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