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Covid Rapid vs PCR Test

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Has anyone cruised recently with Carnival that only took a FREE rapid test like through Walgreens or CVS?  I'm trying to avoid paying $100 for a PCR test - I know... I'm cheap.  But will Carnival accept a rapid from a pharmacy?

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1 hour ago, kefthecruiser said:

For my March 2022 cruise on Carnival Paradise, I was tested at Walgreens (3 days before cruise), no charge to me. And yes, Carnival accepted the Walgreens test. I'm not up to speed on any changes to Carnival protocol since then.

Thank you!


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Only unvaccinated children and exemption granted adults need the PCR test for cruising on Carnival. For fully vaccinated (completed the minimum CDC guidelines series of shots) they have the choice of telemed proctored or in person rapid antigen and NAAT testing as alternatives but only if the sample is taken 2 days prior to embarkation day. For those completely up to date with boosters they have the same testing options but get 3 days prior to boarding to get which ever test they choose done giving extra wiggle room if the written report is delivered late (on app reports also accepted for all vaccination levels). 

For those the fully vaccinated that can not secure free testing by a pharmacy, lab, testing clinic, local health department, or their own health care provider with assurances of having their report in hand (or on an app) prior to boarding can opt for telemed supervised at home test kits. Most popular are the Abbott BinaxNow AG CARD test kits with the proctoring cost as part of the initial purchase price, at about $28-$35/kit (or less if you submit for insurance or HSA reimbursement), depending on which online provider you purchase through eMed (6 packs only) or Optum choice 2 or 3 packs). Gaining popularity is the use of the free testing kits provided by the government using a 3rd party telemed site if you have a test kit they already support (telemed visit cost is dependent on your location and insurance coverage and could be as little as $20 to as much as $50 per test witness & report written).  Google "free test kits" + "proctor sessions" or "for travel instructions".

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