However, Carnival waives proof of insurance for passengers under the age of 12 because the FDA has not yet approved the use of vaccines for children in that age group.
Unvaccinated passengers who do not have insurance will not be allowed to board and their ticket purchases will not be reimbursed, the company warned.
In a statement to CBS News, a Carnival spokesman said the policy is “in line with the practices of other lines also resuming operations and in the best interests of our unvaccinated guests.”
“This is important insurance coverage should you encounter a medical situation during your cruise,” added the representative.
Carnival did not specify how long the compulsory insurance will be in effect.
The cruise company’s new ruling comes after competitor Royal Caribbean announced a similar travel insurance requirement earlier this month. Unlike Carnival, Royal Caribbean requires unvaccinated passengers to have insurance with coverage of at least $ 25,000 per person for medical expenses and $ 50,000 for COVID-related quarantine and medical evacuation expenses.
Travel insurance regulation is the compromise cruise companies must work with to appease both the state of Florida and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wedbush Securities’ travel and leisure industry analyst James Hardiman.
While the CDC allowed cruise lines to sail again in U.S. waters – as long as 95% of customers and 98% of crew are vaccinated – the state of Florida has a law that prohibits companies from requiring customers to be vaccinated.
“I think travel insurance – along with other arduous and sometimes expensive hurdles unvaccinated passengers have to overcome – is one way to strongly encourage passengers to get a vaccination without needing it,” Hardiman told CBS News.