At Home COVID Test For Cruise Travel – How To Step-by-Step
If you will be cruising soon, you won’t want to miss this video. COVID testing these days is essential for cruise travel. Up until recently, getting a COVID test, and timing the test just right to adhere to your Cruise line’s requirements had been an anxiety inducing experience. In fact, on our last cruise, our COVID test results did not come back in time to provide proof to the cruise line. So we had to get emergency testing done at another location. This added additional expense and frustration to our cruise.
At-home COVID testing changes all that.
In this video we are going to walk you step-by-step through the process of taking an at-home COVID test. I’ll be cruising with Royal Caribbean, so I am using the eMed at home COVID test purchased through Royal Caribbean’s website. We’ll explain how to get the at home COVID test, and how to use it in this video. We’ll also show you how the at home COVID test can be taken using your cell phone. Additionally, we’ll show you how the at home COVID test process looks on your phone, and how the test results will be made available to you for download.
First things first
The the first thing you’ll need to do is find out what tests are acceptable by your cruise line. The best place to start is your cruise line’s website. We’ve grabbed a couple of links to save you a little work below.
TIP: DO NOT use the at home tests you can buy at your local drug store. Instead, use the recommended products linked on your cruise line’s website.
Where to find more info and order Royal Caribbean at home tests: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/is-there-a-telemedicine-option-for-pre-cruise-covid-19-test
From Royal Caribbean’s website
Royal Caribbean guests that are fully vaccinated can now order at-home antigen test kits, shipped right to your door anywhere in the U.S. Complete your pre-cruise test at home, with live video supervised by an eMed Certified Guide. Get your results in 15 minutes. The tests are available in a pack of two, or a pack of three, which includes the test kits, expedited shipping, and live virtual visit.
These telehealth test kits cannot be shipped internationally. However, they are able to be shipped to all U.S. addresses, such as a hotel or other pre-cruise accommodation. International guests can contact the hotel where you will be staying to arrange receipt and storage of your test kit ahead of travel. You can then complete your testing requirement upon arriving in the U.S. and before boarding your cruise.
Where to find more info and order Carnival at home tests (scroll to “Where can I get a COVID test”: https://www.carnival.com/Legal/covid-19-legal-notices/return-to-service-faqs
From Carnival’s website
Self-administered telehealth COVID-19 tests have been approved by the CDC for vaccinated guests to satisfy the pre-cruise testing requirement. The test must have Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA and the self-test process must happen under live supervision on a video call with a telehealth representative. The telehealth provider must issue you a result document that includes all the necessary information. The result document must be presented at the time of check-in. Fully vaccinated guests may consider using an Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test which includes a viral antigen home test and the services of an eMed telemedicine professional who will supervise the administration of the home test and provide your results in 15 minutes. Test kits ship to all 50 states and arrive at your door in three business days or less. Order Now .
When to order your test
You should order your test at least one week before you plan to take your test. It’s best not to wait until the last minute to order. Royal Caribbean shipping times are about 3-5 days, so plan accordingly.
When to take your test
Make sure you take your test within the accepted timeframe. The acceptable timeframe is typically 2-3 days before boarding your cruise, but be sure to take a look at your cruise line’s website to be sure. With both Carnival and Royal Caribbean, at the time we sailed, vaccinated guests needed to test no more than two days before the cruise. Note, they didn’t specify hours, but rather days, so if you cruise Saturday, you can test anytime Thursday, or even Friday or Saturday morning before your cruise. Again, check with your cruise line.
What you’ll need
1. Access to an internet connection with a minimum bandwidth of 650 kbps.
2. An internet-enabled device with a microphone, speakers, front-facing camera or webcam, and a supported browser.
We recommend using a smartphone, as it will be easier to control the direction of the camera, at least compared to a built-in webcam on a laptop. As for the supported browsers, the latest versions of Safari, Chrome or Edge should be fine.
3. You’ll also need to have some identification readily available. Valid forms of photo-ID include driver’s license, passport, passport card, state-issued identification card, military ID card, and official school ID.
4. You’ll also need to create an account with the testing host’s website. For eMed we created an account with NAVICA. It’s a quick and easy process, and should not present any troubles.
Ready set go!
For this walk thru we’ll be using the eMed BinaxNow at home COVID test.
When you’re ready to take the test make sure you’re in a location with a strong internet connection for video conferencing. Then simply scan the QR code on the box, or follow the instructions on the inside of the box to begin your virtual session. Scanning the QR code will launch a browser, and take you directly to the launch site for the virtual session. From there you’ll need to select your state of residence and login to your previously created account (NAVICA).
After a few standard permissions checks you’ll be asked questions like; Do you have the test available? Are your hands washed? Do you have photo-ID handy? We’ll cover all the questions in the video. Once you’ve answered all the questions, and agreed to the terms, your virtual session will begin. Before you are connected to your guide, the system will run video, network, audio input and outputs tests to make sure your device is capable.
You’re connected with a guide – now what?
Your certified guide will introduce themselves, and you’re be asked to provide your full name and date of birth. You’ll then need to hold your photo-ID up to your device’s camera for your guide to verify. Next you’ll be asked to hold up the unopened test kit box to the camera. You guide will then have you open the test kit, and verify the contents. For our eMed at home test kit we had a swab, a sealed test package, and a bottle of liquid. You be asked to remove the test from the test package, open it and lay it flat like an open book in view of your camera.
Within the view of your camera you’ll take the bottle of liquid and add drops of liquid to the test kit as specifically instructed by your certified guide. In our case we were instructed add six drops to the small hole on the test kit, but be sure to follow your guides instructions, as these steps may change or vary.
Next you’ll be asked to remove the swab from its container without touching the tip. Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite activity. That’s right, it’s time to swab your nose. You’ll insert the swab at least half and inch into one nostril, and rotate at least five times. Then you’ll do the same with your other nostril. It’s a shallow swab, and it doesn’t hurt.
Now keeping the test still open and flat on the table you’ll be asked to push the swab though the hole in the test kit. This will be obvious once you see your test kit, but it’s kind of like an “in and then up” pushing that will result in test kit and swab looking a bit like a lollipop. You’ll be asked to rotate the swab a number of times, peal off the adhesive, and then close the test kit.
Now we wait
The test kit must remain flat on the table within view of your camera. Your certified guide with then start a timer that will appear on you device. You are not permitted to touch the test in any way once this timer starts, and again, the test must remain within view of the camera. You can leave the area, but you must return within 15 minutes.
When the 15 minutes have expired you will be contacted by another certified guide. Your certified guide will walk you through interpreting and recording the test results. You’ll be asked to hold the test up to the camera for verification. If you used a smartphone, like we did, then you’ll be using the back camera rather than the “selfie” front facing camera. There is a QR code that needs to be in the center of the camera in order to be scanned. Your guide will help you if your camera is not able to scan the code.
There are three possible results for the test.
You can see the results on your test as indicated in a small cutout “window” in the test. With ours the result was indicated by a pink line. Your guide will explain the results to you.
Once the results have been verified by your certified guide, the test is complete, and you can throw away the test kit. Information about the test results, and how to download them will be emailed to you.
You can retrieve results on the host’s website to print, or download the NAVICA app for QR code results to present at the terminal.
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