(11:45 a.m. EDT) -- Carnival Cruise Line has adjusted its vaccine requirements for cruises out of Texas to allow a limited number of unvaccinated children under age 12 onboard on an application basis, the line said Wednesday.
The news is a reversal of an announcement Monday when the line indicated its cruises would sail with fully vaccinated passengers only.
In a letter to booked passengers, Carnival said those vaccinated passengers cruising from Galveston will not be required to wear face masks or maintain social distancing onboard. Passengers aged 12 and up will be required to present proof of vaccination at the time of check-in.
Restrictions could change while on-shore, based on what local ports are asking visitors to do.
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“Guests will have to follow all necessary local guidance at the destinations we visit,” the line told passengers.
Carnival said passengers planning to travel with children on the new sailings out of Galveston who are not vaccinated would need to apply for space onboard first, given the limited number of unvaccinated passengers allowed under the 95 percent threshold.
“Such guests are being asked to put their names on our list (online submissions only) for follow-up communication,” the line said. “There will be testing, mask requirements and other restrictions for unvaccinated guests who are granted an exemption."
Carnival received approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to operate the new sailings on June 8. Under CDC rules, cruise ships operating restricted voyages with at least 95 percent of guests and crew vaccinated do not have to perform test cruises to prove the effectiveness of health and safety protocols before carrying revenue passengers.
“Guests who determine the time is not right to sail may call Carnival or their travel advisor, by June 14, to help them rebook for a later date.”
Carnival Vista sets sail from Galveston on July 3, 2021. Carnival Breeze follows July 15. Both ships mark Carnival's first return to the seas with paying passengers since March 2020.