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Carnival announces Tampa sailing with updated COVID protocols

Vaccinated customers must show a negative result of a COVID-19 test.

TAMPA, Fla. — Carnival Cruise Line is pushing ahead with putting more ships on the water, including one set to sail later this year from Tampa Bay.

The company announced Carnival Pride is scheduled to depart Tampa starting Sunday, Nov. 14. It already is operating cruises from nearby Miami and across the Gulf of Mexico from Galveston, Texas.

"We are very pleased with the progress of our restart which will grow to 15 ships sailing from seven U.S. homeports by mid-November," Christine Duffy, the president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement. "We are making slight adjustments to our timeline to take into account supply chain realities and ensure that our destination and shore excursion offerings can meet the strong demand we are seeing from our guests. 

"Our teams, ship and shore, are prepared to continue delivering on our great guest experience and manage all health and safety protocols."

Those protocols include updated guidelines for vaccinated guests. Carnival says for sailings after Sept. 13 and in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policies, vaccinated guests must get a COVID-19 test within two days prior to their sailing date.

The result must be negative.

Exemptions for unvaccinated guests "will be limited to a very small number of children under 12, and teens and adults with a medical condition who can provide written confirmation from their medical provider that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons," the company says. Those guests must also show a negative result at check-in, take an additional test at embarkation and test again within 24 hours if the cruise lasts longer than four days.

A $150 per person charge applies, the company adds.

Carnival earlier this summer announced unvaccinated guests must also show proof of travel insurance at check-in.

In August, a judge ruled Norwegian Cruise Line can require that passengers show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in Florida despite a state law that fines businesses from requiring such proof.

Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have similar policies in place.