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Negative Covid Test Required


JimmB
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Anyone else hit by this???  Just received a notice from Viking that they REQUIRE no longer RECOMMEND a negative COVID-19 no more than 2 days prior to boarding the ship. We are leaving our home town at that two day window and will may need to cancel our pre board plans to find a pharmacy close to our hotel and the cruise port.  Any advice  ??

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Yes, this is a new requirement as of October 5 for many of "The Americas and Caribbean" cruises, the "2021-2022 Viking World Cruise" and perhaps others I've missed.

 

For those who haven't seen it yet, the new requirement for testing within two days of boarding the ship is found in this United States Pre-Cruise Requirements document located on the "Resources" tab of the cruise details pages on the main Viking website for those cruises that are impacted.

 

This applies to our voyage, the "Hawaiian Islands Sojourn". We are flying to Los Angeles a few days early, so we can't get tested in our home town either. Our plan now is to get tested at the LAX airport.

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7 hours ago, JimmB said:

Anyone else hit by this???  Just received a notice from Viking that they REQUIRE no longer RECOMMEND a negative COVID-19 no more than 2 days prior to boarding the ship. We are leaving our home town at that two day window and will may need to cancel our pre board plans to find a pharmacy close to our hotel and the cruise port.  Any advice  ??

Actually good news. They are now accepting Antigen tests which produces results hours. The prpctpred tests such as Abbott's BinaxNow RX Home Test RX produces results in 15 minutes.

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PSA: There are numerous variations of what’s required for cruising on Viking floating around here. That’s because the requirements vary by cruise.

Refer to the requirements for your particular cruise on MVJ to determine what test is required and when. Never rely on CC postings.

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9 hours ago, JimmB said:

Anyone else hit by this???  Just received a notice from Viking that they REQUIRE no longer RECOMMEND a negative COVID-19 no more than 2 days prior to boarding the ship. We are leaving our home town at that two day window and will may need to cancel our pre board plans to find a pharmacy close to our hotel and the cruise port.  Any advice  ??

 

In addition to the Cruise Line's Health & Safety Plan, Viking must adhere to the requirements of the local health authorities of the countries visited.

 

Based on your post, I assume you are making reference to the document Viking recently issued for pax boarding in US Ports. This is Viking ensuring compliance with the US CDC pre-cruise requirements.

 

As the requirements are most likely different for other countries, may I suggest that it is best to specify where you are cruising.

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48 minutes ago, CILCIANRQTS said:

PSA: There are numerous variations of what’s required for cruising on Viking floating around here. That’s because the requirements vary by cruise.

Refer to the requirements for your particular cruise on MVJ to determine what test is required and when. Never rely on CC postings.

 

One follow-up comment concerning COVID Testing requirements as stated in MVJ. If the new United States Pre-Cruise Requirements apply to your cruise, you should receive a one-time "Notification" in MVJ to read those requirements. After reading that notification, it disappears from MVJ.

 

After reading that notification, our MVJ itself does not state the new requirements for our voyage. What MVJ does say (under "COVID-19 Testing" in "Before You Go") is "please read the Pre-Cruise Requirements found under the Resources tab of your itinerary page on the Viking website". That's where we find the new United States Pre-Cruise Requirements for our voyage, not within MVJ itself.

Edited by bluemarble
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I am not happy about the 48 hour window either given our travel plans for the Dec 20 Hawaii cruise - especially since the CDC link they provided says testing within a “1-3 day” window prior to a cruise is acceptable.   (I got a suggestion on the Roll Call listserv that I should email the Viking tell-us email address with this complaint which I plan to do so that perhaps they will give us a 72 hour window.)

 

 I am glad they are allowing any type of testing now as that helps some.  We are arriving too late on Saturday to use the testing facility at LAX and decided to stay in Long Beach at the Hilton in order to be able to access several possible testing locations there.  I found one called Sameday Health that has received decent reviews online, especially in comparison to the local LB CVS stores.  We may also try to get a quick test done on our way to the airport early Saturday morning if we can find a testing location, but we are less familiar with the airport area as it’s a small regional airport about an hour from our house.  We have a long-ish lay-over in ATL, but unlike LAX, there are no on-site Covid testing facilities open to all passengers at ATL for some reason.

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1 hour ago, mc_reeve said:

got a suggestion on the Roll Call listserv that I should email the Viking tell-us email address with this complaint which I plan to do so that perhaps they will give us a 72 hour window.)

I did this and got a call back.  They didn’t even know about this and referred me to the Sept. 17 document stating the requirement was only through Oct. 31 and would be reevaluated.  I’m going to call this morning and talk to a woman who always helps us out,  

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Just talked to two people at Viking.  They were reading and learning as we talked.  In other words, they are at the point of research I reached yesterday.  The CDC statement about cruising went into effect in 2020.  It is not new.  And it is a recommendation that anyone cruising get a negative test 2-3 days before boarding and then test again upon return.  Viking is viewing this document as a requirement, but we did not need a negative test before leaving for Iceland last summer.  Viking administered the test upon boarding, which they could do again.  And that raised the question of what 2 days and boarding mean.  Apparently it is not 48 hours, because who knows what time anyone will actually board, but simply two calendar days before the day you get on the ship.  I am going to keep following this every few weeks until our Dec. 24 embarkation.

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1 hour ago, SantaFe1 said:

I did this and got a call back.  They didn’t even know about this and referred me to the Sept. 17 document stating the requirement was only through Oct. 31 and would be reevaluated.  I’m going to call this morning and talk to a woman who always helps us out,  

 

4 hours ago, CILCIANRQTS said:

PSA: There are numerous variations of what’s required for cruising on Viking floating around here. That’s because the requirements vary by cruise.

 

Perhaps then, when e-mailing Viking, we should include the links to the documents to which we refer. 

 

Regardless, if we are in doubt about the acceptability of any particular test, we should be directing our inquiries to Viking. My suggestions is via e-mail to TellUs@vikingcruises.com and definitely not via the call center --and ask for a confirmation in writing.

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Peregrina651 said:

My suggestions is via e-mail to TellUs@vikingcruises.com and definitely not via the call center --and ask for a confirmation in writing.

Did this.  Got called back.  They aren’t putting anything in writing. I really think it is going to take a few more weeks before Viking has answers.  

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2 hours ago, SantaFe1 said:

Did this.  Got called back.  They aren’t putting anything in writing. I really think it is going to take a few more weeks before Viking has answers.  

This is simply a matter of inadequate training. We all get that the testing and COVID rates are in flux. But our expectation as customers is to have consistent and correct answers. We should not know more about Viking and International country's policies than Viking's staff. This is likely a by-product of a large influx of new staff who have not been fully trained.

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9 minutes ago, rbslos18 said:

This is simply a matter of inadequate training. We all get that the testing and COVID rates are in flux. But our expectation as customers is to have consistent and correct answers. We should not know more about Viking and International country's policies than Viking's staff. This is likely a by-product of a large influx of new staff who have not been fully trained.

I had someone tell me they had no idea of what a NAAT test was.  But, Viking specifically mentions NAAT tests as being sufficient on the website on other sailings.

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On 10/8/2021 at 5:22 AM, rbslos18 said:

Actually good news. They are now accepting Antigen tests which produces results hours. The prpctpred tests such as Abbott's BinaxNow RX Home Test RX produces results in 15 minutes.

 

Do we know for sure they’ll accept the proctored home test? 

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The resource area for our November 29th Barcelona to San Juan cruise now says that independent travelers (those not using the Viking pre-extension hotel) need a negative PCR test 72 hours before boarding the ship, which means we need to find a test in Barcelona.  I emailed our hotel and found out we can get a test there! 

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7 hours ago, zelker said:

 

Do we know for sure they’ll accept the proctored home test? 

Others on Cruise Critic have claimed to use it. You do receive the necessary time/dated document. When I called tellus and the US Embassy, they referred me to the requirements which states a PCR or Antigen test to enter Italy. As noted, it is hard to get definitive answers with some of these matters. Anyone can guess what the rules will be come November. The test is accepted by the CDC as an Antigen test. Currently, unless the rules are changed, we will have to do three tests—Friday (PCR), Saturday (PCR) and we will try the Antigen test on Sunday. I accidentally uncovered a private lab with a government contract to do free PCR tests. The results have always returned within 24 hours. 

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On 10/8/2021 at 7:22 AM, rbslos18 said:

Actually good news. They are now accepting Antigen tests which produces results hours. The prpctpred tests such as Abbott's BinaxNow RX Home Test RX produces results in 15 minutes.

I spoke with a Viking agent yesterday who did some calling to try and answer all my Covid testing questions for our November Central America/Cana cruise.  She confirmed the 2 day window.  However, she said that no home tests or rapid tests were accepted.  I think that would leave out the BinaxNow RX home test.  

She did not know what the NAAT test was and neither do I??  

She did acknowledge that the options list antigen tests.  I thought all antigen tests were rapid tests.  Am I wrong?

 

Can anyone answer my questions about NAAT tests and antigen tests?

 

Thanks,

Jan

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13 minutes ago, jmfdr said:

I spoke with a Viking agent yesterday who did some calling to try and answer all my Covid testing questions for our November Central America/Cana cruise.  She confirmed the 2 day window.  However, she said that no home tests or rapid tests were accepted.  I think that would leave out the BinaxNow RX home test.  

She did not know what the NAAT test was and neither do I??  

She did acknowledge that the options list antigen tests.  I thought all antigen tests were rapid tests.  Am I wrong?

 

Can anyone answer my questions about NAAT tests and antigen tests?

 

Thanks,

Jan

Jan, BinaxNow Home Test comes in two versions. There is a regular home test and one that is an RX ordered by one of their physicians after you fill out a questionnaire. The typical home test is not proctored. The RX test must be proctored to be accepted and it enables  you to get a document that meets the Antigen requirements. When I called Viking the agent would not say the proctored test was not allowed. She did refer me to the Italy requirements which is a PCR or Antigen. I'll let you know in December!

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2 hours ago, jmfdr said:

 

She did not know what the NAAT test was and neither do I??  

She did acknowledge that the options list antigen tests.  I thought all antigen tests were rapid tests.  Am I wrong?

 

Thanks,

Jan

I also had a telephone interaction with a Viking rep who likewise confirmed the 2-day testing requirement but could not explain why the CDC link Viking used in the same communication said testing “1-3 days” ahead of cruising was acceptable.  Two-days for cruises leaving from the US is just their policy - so we are stuck with it.  I also expect the requirements to change again before our cruise at the end of the year.

 

Classifying tests as acceptable or not based on whether they are called “rapid” is causing all sorts of problems.  Antigen tests of all sorts - including those performed by laboratory professionals - are quickly done simply because the testing procedure is quick and well-known from previously developed antigen tests for other diseases.  The antigen tests detect viral antigens usually present on the exterior capsule of the virus.  

 

The Abbott NAAT called ID NOW is a fairly quickly performed test (in less than an hour if the facility wants to do them quickly but it often takes up to 24 hours) and so could also be called “rapid”.  The NAAT is very similar to what is called the PCR test - or more accurately the rt-PCR.  Both the NAAT and rt-PCR use similar detection methodology  (they amplify then detect the RNA (i.e, the nucleic acid) in Covid-19 virus), and are considered more sensitive in detecting the presence of Covid-19 than the antigen test.  The NAAT and rt-PCR are considered fairly equivalent in their ability to detect the Covid virus by both the FDA and CDC.  The Abbott Covid NAAT was given temporary approval by the FDA just a few months ago and so many are not familiar with it.  It may not be suitable for entry into every country.  There are a couple of other companies with temporarily approved NAAT’s but they have not been as aggressively marketed (or used I think) compared to the ID NOW assay.  A few testing locations advertise that they can do a traditional rt-PCR assay in 10 or 12 hours - which one might also classify as “rapid” (versus typical 2-3 days), but that only means they have set up their laboratory to do the PCR test as quickly as possible and they tend to be quite expensive.

 Just to be extra confusing, there is a third type of Covid test method coming out that uses the CRISPR methodology.  It is supposed to be as quick as the antigen test and just as inexpensive to run, but as accurate as the NAAT or PCR.  I don’t believe it is commercially available yet.  It’s claim to fame is that it might work via a smart-phone app so Millennials will love it and I will need help to make it work.

 

The developing problem that is little understood is the issue of interpreting a positive test result in a vaccinated and asymptomatic person being screened for travel as the incidence of Covid declines.  There is a rather complex explanation for this (that I won’t describe), but can be simply stated that as the Covid incidence becomes very small (e.g., in a group of vaccinated people going on a cruise) positive test results will become increasing rare - but also increasingly likely to be false positives when they do occur.  A positive test result needs to be very carefully interpreted in situations where the disease incidence is very low.  If you are vaccinated, asymptomatic, have been careful about your contacts and mask-wearing in situations that require it - demand a confirming re-test if you test positive.

 

Obviously - its a slow Sunday.

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, mc_reeve said:

I also had a telephone interaction with a Viking rep who likewise confirmed the 2-day testing requirement but could not explain why the CDC link Viking used in the same communication said testing “1-3 days” ahead of cruising was acceptable.  Two-days for cruises leaving from the US is just their policy - so we are stuck with it.  I also expect the requirements to change again before our cruise at the end of the year.

 

Classifying tests as acceptable or not based on whether they are called “rapid” is causing all sorts of problems.  Antigen tests of all sorts - including those performed by laboratory professionals - are quickly done simply because the testing procedure is quick and well-known from previously developed antigen tests for other diseases.  The antigen tests detect viral antigens usually present on the exterior capsule of the virus.  

 

The Abbott NAAT called ID NOW is a fairly quickly performed test (in less than an hour if the facility wants to do them quickly but it often takes up to 24 hours) and so could also be called “rapid”.  The NAAT is very similar to what is called the PCR test - or more accurately the rt-PCR.  Both the NAAT and rt-PCR use similar detection methodology  (they amplify then detect the RNA (i.e, the nucleic acid) in Covid-19 virus), and are considered more sensitive in detecting the presence of Covid-19 than the antigen test.  The NAAT and rt-PCR are considered fairly equivalent in their ability to detect the Covid virus by both the FDA and CDC.  The Abbott Covid NAAT was given temporary approval by the FDA just a few months ago and so many are not familiar with it.  It may not be suitable for entry into every country.  There are a couple of other companies with temporarily approved NAAT’s but they have not been as aggressively marketed (or used I think) compared to the ID NOW assay.  A few testing locations advertise that they can do a traditional rt-PCR assay in 10 or 12 hours - which one might also classify as “rapid” (versus typical 2-3 days), but that only means they have set up their laboratory to do the PCR test as quickly as possible and they tend to be quite expensive.

 Just to be extra confusing, there is a third type of Covid test method coming out that uses the CRISPR methodology.  It is supposed to be as quick as the antigen test and just as inexpensive to run, but as accurate as the NAAT or PCR.  I don’t believe it is commercially available yet.  It’s claim to fame is that it might work via a smart-phone app so Millennials will love it and I will need help to make it work.

 

The developing problem that is little understood is the issue of interpreting a positive test result in a vaccinated and asymptomatic person being screened for travel as the incidence of Covid declines.  There is a rather complex explanation for this (that I won’t describe), but can be simply stated that as the Covid incidence becomes very small (e.g., in a group of vaccinated people going on a cruise) positive test results will become increasing rare - but also increasingly likely to be false positives when they do occur.  A positive test result needs to be very carefully interpreted in situations where the disease incidence is very low.  If you are vaccinated, asymptomatic, have been careful about your contacts and mask-wearing in situations that require it - demand a confirming re-test if you test positive.

 

Obviously - its a slow Sunday.

 

 

 

Well, MC_Reeve---thanks for the detailed covid test description.  Actually I will make a copy of it to keep.  But now, the real problem is what tests will Viking except next month?  (rhetorical)  It seems we do have confusion about the term "rapid" and maybe even "at home".  Will the at-home proctored antigen test be acceptable?  (again rhetorical)  

 

Where does one get an antigen test?  I can not seem to find it offered at any of our usual Walgreen/CVS locations.  

 

I have found one local lab that offers an expedited 24 hour return PCR test for a hefty fee.  I think we might have to do that.  Our cruise departs FLL on Nov. 26 the day after Thanksgiving.  If we get PCR tests on Nov. 24, I don't want to risk getting the results back in 2 days over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I appreciate your detailed info on the "slow Sunday"

Jan

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Weare onthe same tripthat leaves on the day after Thanksgiving. How will the holiday affectgetting test results? We are driving to the port and don't needwotty about flying. I know Viking has people who follow the posts on CC, it would be helpful if someone from Viking would post and clear up the situation. 

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1 hour ago, jmfdr said:

Well, MC_Reeve---thanks for the detailed covid test description.  Actually I will make a copy of it to keep.  But now, the real problem is what tests will Viking except next month?  (rhetorical)  It seems we do have confusion about the term "rapid" and maybe even "at home".  Will the at-home proctored antigen test be acceptable?  (again rhetorical)  

 

Where does one get an antigen test?  I can not seem to find it offered at any of our usual Walgreen/CVS locations.  

 

I have found one local lab that offers an expedited 24 hour return PCR test for a hefty fee.  I think we might have to do that.  Our cruise departs FLL on Nov. 26 the day after Thanksgiving.  If we get PCR tests on Nov. 24, I don't want to risk getting the results back in 2 days over the Thanksgiving holiday.

I appreciate your detailed info on the "slow Sunday"

Jan

Jan,

What city do you live in Kentucky? In Louisville, CVS (PCR and Rapid Antigen) and Walmart (PCR) do testing. Wild Health is doing free PCR tests throughout the Commonwealth!

Edited by rbslos18
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