One of the biggest headaches of COVID-era cruising is navigating the pre-embarkation health screening, which includes required checks of COVID-19 vaccination documentation, proof of negative testing, and citizenship documentation.
To help streamline and speed up the process, some cruise lines are turning to the VeriFly app, a secure and free digital health app developed for the aviation sector that lets guests upload vaccination and test records and complete pre-boarding health screenings before they get to the terminal.
What is VeriFly? The app has been used in the aviation industry for several months now (American Airlines, Alaska, Iberia and British Airways are a few of the carriers that use it, along with other Oneworld carriers), to streamline the documentation process needed for passengers to check in for their flights. And using that same technology for documentation checks for cruises makes a lot of sense.
Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, and Viking have all recently launched partnerships with the company to give guests the option of using the app to speed up check-in, which Carnival said can cut in half the time it takes for passengers to successfully embark.
"VeriFly helps our guests easily and securely complete pre-embarkation tasks right from their smartphone," said Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy. "Guests can save time at the port and get on board faster by completing the process via VeriFly."
VeriFly is an app developed by Daon that let users store their vaccine and testing records digitally. The tracks the health requirements of participating destinations and travel providers and lets travelers then access and download the required documentation to create digital health passes that can be quickly scanned by participating airlines, cruise lines, hotels destinations and others who are part of the network.
After you download the app, you will be guided to take a selfie and fill in your personal information. One you have created an account, you can set up passes by searching for your cruise line, airline or destination. The app guides you through the requirements for that trip, verifies your documentation, then generates a mobile pass or QR code that you can present instead of paperwork at check in. The app can be quickly scanned, and passes are accessible on your phone whether you are on or offline.
Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Viking currently use VeriFly. Holland America launched VeriFly onboard Rotterdam in March and is rolling it out as an option for providing test, vaccine and health questionnaires this month in all U.S., Canadian and European homeports. Carnival offers VeriFly as an option for verifying vaccines, testing and other health records for passengers on all ships in all of its U.S. homeports. Viking uses the app to verify guests’ vaccination status.
VeriFly says documentation will be verified within 24 hours. If there are problems, the company said it will contact users directly. It also offers a priority review service to get vaccine and testing information validated in 15 minutes for a cost of $8.99 a person or $14.99 for all travelers in a group.
VeriFly says the app meets strict privacy and data protection regulations, including Europe’s strict GDR rules. The app gives users complete control of their data, and the company says it will eliminate all of your data immediately if you decide to stop using the app. The company is a division of Daon, which has been creating digital identity systems for governments, companies, and organizations for more than 20 years.
Yes, you should always have hard copies with you at all times in case there are technological glitches. Bring paper copies of your proof of vaccination, proof of negative test, and proof of citizenship, as these are sometimes required by local officials.
Cruise Critic members report having their physical documentation validated, even when using VeriFly. "I used this app when flying back from Mexico per the directions of the airline,” writes Cruise Critic member klfrodo. “I still had to show hard copies of everything."
Updated March 25, 2022