PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Carnival Cruise Line is adding a new COVID-19 protocol to its sailings and the company plans to use Port Canaveral to test it out.
Carnival announced it plans to begin using VeriFLY for its passengers. The program, which is widely used in the airline industry, allows passengers to upload their proof of vaccination and testing information so that it can be verified in advance of the sailing, according to Carnival.
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The goal, according to the company, is to streamline the boarding process for guests.
The company plans to test VeriFLY starting Saturday with guests boarding the Mardi Gras at Port Canaveral.
“Once the pilot at Port Canaveral is complete, Carnival intends to move quickly to implement the solution across its fleet,” the company said in a news release.
Stewart Chiron of CruiseGuy.com said he has used the app for flying internationally. The cruise industry expert argued VeriFLY might not speed up pre-boarding, as Carnival says it will. Chiron said the process of getting on a cruise right now is already quick and efficient.
“The pre-boarding process has been very streamlined,” he said. “So was there a problem that this is supposed to solve and what is it?”
Carnival added it is finalizing plans to expand in-terminal testing capabilities for vaccinated guests prior to embarkation, specifically for short itineraries of three to four days.
The company said it plans to follow its current COVID-19 protocols for the foreseeable future. However, the company said it would be issuing more details on its operations “for February and beyond” in the coming days, but did not elaborate and what that means.
The Port Canaveral CEO said he expected the cruise lines to keep their rules in place once the CDC conditional sailing order transitioned to a voluntary status last weekend.
“Everyone’s taking the right precautions in the way that they feel they can handle it best,” Captain John Murray said. “The cruise lines have all established good, quality safety protocols on their ships for their guests and their crew members.”