What You Need to Know About Pre-Cruise Home Covid Testing

There are a few things you need to know about pre-cruise home country testing. If you’re planning on traveling internationally, it is important to make sure your passport and visa are valid for the destination you plan on visiting.

The cruise ship covid testing requirements is a question that has been asked for many years. The answer to the question, however, is not always straightforward.

Some cruise companies are now allowing passengers to undergo Abbott’s COVID-19 antigen test at home in order to meet their pre-cruise testing requirements.

Why is Pre-Cruise Testing Performed?

freedom of the seas

The Seas of Liberty (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

The newest Conditional Sailing Order update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that all cruise passengers be tested within two days of sailing, up from three days before.

While the CDC’s numerous rules are now “recommendations” rather than “requirements,” most cruise companies follow them in order to give their passengers with the safest possible experience.

Many passengers found it impossible to fulfill the new criteria within the 48-hour timeframe, prompting cruise companies to allow some kinds of home testing conducted under supervision.

READ MORE: Cruise Lines Stricten Pre-Cruise Testing

However, some users have expressed dissatisfaction with the testing, citing issues such as delayed delivery (even when allegedly expedited) and having to wait up to six hours for a virtual health professional to become available to oversee the test as needed.

You may get a quick summary of the testing procedure by clicking here. Then continue reading to learn about my own experience with the exam.

The Abbott BinaxNow Test may be ordered online.


It was simple to place an order for the exam. I chose the $69.99 two-test bundle from the Optum website.

It’s critical to double-check that the test you purchased is approved by the cruise company on which you want to travel. The last thing you want is to arrive at the dock and discover that you have been refused boarding.

I was allowed to continue after answering a few typical questions, such as my name, date of birth, any symptoms I may be having, and whether I was using it for foreign travel or a cruise.

To guarantee you receive the appropriate verification on embarkation day, answer the question that you’re utilizing the antigen test for a future trip.

Receiving the At-Home Examination


The test was sent to my workplace through FedEx two days later. I took the exam just after lunch since I was leaving in two days.

Because the item was sent from Hayward, CA, and I live in Jacksonville, FL, the delivery time was remarkable, particularly considering I wasn’t paying for it.


I saw a large red label that said DO NOT OPEN when I opened the exterior packing. This is because a representative must see you taking the exam to ensure that you are completing it properly and that you are not engaging in any unethical behavior.


Before scheduling your testing session, it states on the front of the box to download the Navica app and establish an account.

You just need to input your basic information on the app for security purposes, such as your complete name, address, date of birth, and phone number. It also informs you that when you go to take the exam, you will be required to produce a form of identity to the representative.

Getting in Touch with a Testing Guide


This stage piqued my attention since I’ve been getting letters from listeners claiming that they’ve had to wait up to several hours to speak with a person and begin testing.

I had all the time in the world since I was in the studio all day, so I called them up. Before dealing with anybody, I had to answer a few questions about why I was taking the exam, if I’d just taken a test or had COVID, and whether I had an unopened test in front of me.

My system ran a few tests before putting me on line with someone to ensure that my audio output, audio input, video, and network were all working properly.

The connection screen appeared after that, followed by the words, “You’re up next!”


I had to confirm my identification after connecting with the agent by providing them my name and date of birth and showing them my driver’s license.

In case there are any audio problems or you have difficulty understanding what they are saying, everything they want you to do is shown on the screen.

I had to place my laptop screen in a position where they could verify I had a sealed exam since the test stated DO NOT OPEN across the front. We then proceeded to open the test.

I’m not going to lie, my nerves were still shaken even though I wasn’t needed to take this exam to sail Disney since they test at the dock!


My testing equipment, which contained a test card, a little vial of solution, and a cotton swab, was inside the package.

Before we began the test, I had to hold my test up to the camera so that an eMed representative could scan a QR code and validate the box on their end.

I had to open the exam as instructed while keeping the camera pointed down. I then dipped the swab into the solution and swabbed the inside of each nostril before putting it into the testing equipment and rotating it three times. Then came the fun part: waiting for the results, which took around 15 minutes.

The representative set a timer for me and informed me that I needed to be in front of the camera by the end of the 15 minutes so that someone from the certification team could check my findings and send the code to my phone.

I informed them I was ready to connect with someone once the 15 minutes were over, and within a minute, I had confirmed my findings with a trained advisor through webcam.


The test was simple to understand: one pink line indicated a positive result, whereas two pink lines indicated a negative result.

After confirming that my findings were negative, the guide gave me an email and an iPhone alert informing me that I could see my results on their dashboard or via the NAVICA app.


You may always retake the exam if you wish to double-check the results.

Last Thoughts


First and foremost, order this test as soon as possible, but not too soon. Because these tests have an expiry date, I wouldn’t order them more than a month ahead of my sail date.

I received my test kit two business days after purchasing it, on a Monday afternoon, and it arrived on a Wednesday morning. However, if I required the test to join a cruise, I would purchase ahead of time to avoid any unexpected delivery delays.

This test is ideal for anybody who isn’t satisfied with the turnaround time at their local CVS or Walgreens. It may take up to 72 hours to receive a test result in Jacksonville as of late September. That won’t help you if you need to take a test 48 hours before your trip.

The majority of cruise companies offer links to authorized testing kits on their websites, which eliminates any guessing and ensures you have all you need to board. While passengers may buy kits from other sources, they must ensure that the kit bought complies with all of the cruise line’s standards.

My entire experience was positive, and I want to retake the exam before going on a cruise. In fact, I’ll be taking it again soon before flying to South Florida for a conference.

The abbott binaxnow™ covid-19 antigen card home test with emed telehealth services is a pre-cruise home testing kit that can be purchased for $99.

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