JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Cruise line companies like Carnival are looking to make a big splash this year as they return to operations after a two-year break.
The industry was shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, the Carnival Spirit set sail, making it the first major cruise ship to depart from JaxPort in nearly two years.
Passengers on these cruises are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But there are some exceptions, and in those cases, travel experts say cruise insurance is a must if you’re sailing out of Florida.
The biggest reason is COVID-19, and there are some rules you’ll need to know if you’re taking a cruise with Carnival.
First, vaccination means having the final shot of an approved vaccine at least two weeks before the trip begins.
Passengers also have to show their original vaccine card, a digital certificate of health status or electronic government health records.
Passengers also have to pass a COVID-19 test between one to three days before departure.
Now, there may be some passengers who aren’t eligible for vaccination -- including children under 5, older children with a medical or religious exemption, or adults who have a note from their doctor about why they can’t be vaccinated.
For those passengers, you’ll need to show proof of travel insurance. That grants you a refund if your trip is interrupted and reimburses a certain amount if your bags are lost. It also covers you if you’re injured or have a medical emergency.
Unvaccinated guests without the required proof of insurance will not be allowed to sail and won’t get a refund.
Even outside of COVID-19 though, travel experts like Scott Lara of TheCruiseGenius.com say that travel insurance is still a must for those big cruise trips.
“The No. 1 thing I recommend is that passengers do get travel insurance. This gives them the peace of mind that in case something does happen, a missed flight, missed baggage, that they’re going to be covered,” Lara said. “Even though COVID is decreasing, you do want to have that peace of mind that in case something does happen on the ship, you do get COVID, a family member gets COVID, that you will be covered.”
Lara added that it’s critical that you read the fine print when you’re taking out a policy to make sure that it covers what you think it covers.
A good tip is to fully research your insurance options before booking the trip.