(9:54 a.m. EDT) -- Carnival Corporation & plc announced Friday it has entered into a partnership with Quest Diagnostics to provide pre-cruise COVID-19 testing for passengers booked on Carnival, Holland America, Princess and Seabourn voyages departing from the United States.
The partnership with Quest Diagnostics will provide access to more than 1,500 testing locations at patient service centers, Walmart locations, and pharmacies across the United States. Under the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, passengers are now required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken no earlier than two days prior to embarkation.
The shortened testing window (down from 72 hours previously) has caused concern among American cruisers, who have scrambled to retail locations throughout the U.S. to secure COVID-19 testing that will allow for results to be delivered prior to embarkation.
"Access to testing continues to play an important role in the restart of our guest operations, and working with Quest simplifies the process for our guests by making it easier to access convenient testing options from a trusted national laboratory provider," Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation, said in a statement.
"These testing protocols are part of our layered approach to safeguarding the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit."
Passengers booked on Carnival, Holland America, Princess or Seabourn cruises may schedule appointments with Quest Diagnostics via a secure link provided by email to booked passengers.
Carnival Corporation notes that while results are typically available within 48 hours via email or mobile app, turnaround time can fluctuate according to demand, supplies and other factors, and could vary by region.
Having this partnership available, however, should help to simplify the process for American passengers to obtain pre-cruise COVID-19 testing that is required as a condition of embarkation. Those passengers who cannot provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the timeframe will be denied boarding.
Carnival Corporation is the latest organization to introduce initiatives to help cruisers access COVID-19 testing. Royal Caribbean announced earlier this week it will begin selling approved "test-at-home" kits that are supervised with a telehealth component.
Cruise Critic will update this article as more information becomes available.