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The elusive Antigen test


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So, we are leaving on the Harmony next Sunday and have been trying to secure an appointment for our Rapid Antigen tests on Friday or Saturday from anywhere within a 25 mile radius of where we live in Central Florida. No luck. PCR tests take 2-4 days to get results, so that was out too. We have both Pfizer shots and boosters. We are getting the generic maybe about ports, activities and entertainment.  We certainly would take the chance with this cruise, but, gee, they are all making this so difficult. If they really want to sell cruises during this crazy, or keep folks from canceling, they should offer quick testing at the dock...free...and refund passage if you fail. 

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Welcome to the message boards!

The best approach right now is to get an at-home test that Royal Caribbean accepts. It's so easy to do.

 

If you can't get an at-home test in time, urgent care locations around Orlando offer first-come, first-served Covid tests. We did this for our kids on a recent cruise when we couldn't get an appointment at CVS.

Lastly, Royal offers backup tests at the terminal on embarkation day as a last resort: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2021/09/27/royal-caribbean-will-now-offer-limited-covid-19-testing-the-cruise-terminal-embarkation

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I am also a Tom in Central Florida. Seeing the same testing environment that you are. Our cruise is scheduled for a Tuesday, so one of the possible testing days is Sunday, which may or may not affect a PCR test return time. Also not seeing any rapid tests at local pharmacies that are accepted. 

We are planning on taking Matt's advice on home video testing, buying two tests per person so that if we burn one by mistake, we're both still good.

I have seen some CVS pharmacies in areas in Central Florida where we aren't, literally more than half-way across the peninsula, that do have the rapid tests now. Maybe that will spread to where we are between now and testing time.

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4 minutes ago, MrB said:

I have seen some CVS pharmacies in areas in Central Florida where we aren't, literally more than half-way across the peninsula, that do have the rapid tests now. Maybe that will spread to where we are between now and testing time.

Up until about September, I had no problems ever getting an antigen test at CVS in Orlando.  Then around Labor Day or so (maybe October), they all disappeared. At first, we had to go to Altamonte. Fine. Then those went away too.

Not sure if CVS scaled back its testing options or what, but I'm a happy at-home tester now.

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18 minutes ago, Matt said:

Up until about September, I had no problems ever getting an antigen test at CVS in Orlando.  Then around Labor Day or so (maybe October), they all disappeared. At first, we had to go to Altamonte. Fine. Then those went away too.

Not sure if CVS scaled back its testing options or what, but I'm a happy at-home tester now.

I saw that they pulled out of antigen testing in FL at the same time you mentioned. There does seem to be a scattered return of antigen testing to CVS in Florida according to the CVS website. That's good news to have an alternative / backup to home testing. Or have home testing a backup to CVS. Dealer's choice on which is the primary and secondary if both are available and consistent.

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Not sure where you live but Walgreens in Rockledge near Cape Canaveral has good availability on Saturday for a Rapid ID NOW test.  That is a NAAT test that exceeds antigen.  I've used this test to board over a dozen cruises since the restart.

None of the CVS along the space coast ever did offer a rapid test.  They only offer PCR here.  I gave up on CVS in August.  All of the cruise lines I've sailed and many international countries accept NAAT (even though everyone focuses on PCR).  

They always say results with 24 hours but they have always provided results within 2 hours for me.  

Just now:

841798853_ScreenShot2022-01-02at12_21_34PM.jpg.1a7f6e36d35330a1ffc8225f1dbf5dde.jpg

 

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13 minutes ago, MrB said:

I saw that they pulled out of antigen testing in FL at the same time you mentioned. There does seem to be a scattered return of antigen testing to CVS in Florida according to the CVS website. That's good news to have an alternative / backup to home testing. Or have home testing a backup to CVS. Dealer's choice on which is the primary and secondary if both are available and consistent.

CVS has been a bust for me. They told me they could do the PCR but would provide results in 3-4 days, and they said no rapid testing is available through them  now. Not sure about Fed x getting it here in time before we leave for the cruise as they have been reporting delays in my area plus they sometimes rely on the USPS for the back end of their deliveries which is very unreliable and slow here.  I know Walgreens is making it available, but not until after we leave. We have until 48 hours before the cruise to cancel if we cannot come up with something.  

 

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2 hours ago, Tom in Florida said:

So, we are leaving on the Harmony next Sunday and have been trying to secure an appointment for our Rapid Antigen tests on Friday or Saturday from anywhere within a 25 mile radius of where we live in Central Florida. No luck. PCR tests take 2-4 days to get results, so that was out too. We have both Pfizer shots and boosters. We are getting the generic maybe about ports, activities and entertainment.  We certainly would take the chance with this cruise, but, gee, they are all making this so difficult. If they really want to sell cruises during this crazy, or keep folks from canceling, they should offer quick testing at the dock...free...and refund passage if you fail. 

 

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I am supposed to be sailing on the Harmony Jan 9.  I have decided I am going to cancel. I have read that production shows are off, ice skating, and other activities. I believe also the kids club is closed.  I don’t have kids with me on this cruise but I do have another cruise in March so I will have to keep my eye on that. Also how they move you to the third floor to some cabins if you should become positive.  I am sailing with a first time cruiser and I have decided I am paying all this money and not getting what I wanted them to experience.  I also just read Tom’s review who had a child testing positive.  This cruise was taking the place Of the cruise I had to cancel last March because of Covid.  I booked with my travel agent but lately you can’t even get a live agent.  I am going to try RC this afternoon.  I love cruising so much this is such a disappointment but hopefully this will ease up.  

Nancy

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1 hour ago, Tom in Florida said:

CVS has been a bust for me. They told me they could do the PCR but would provide results in 3-4 days, and they said no rapid testing is available through them  now. Not sure about Fed x getting it here in time before we leave for the cruise as they have been reporting delays in my area plus they sometimes rely on the USPS for the back end of their deliveries which is very unreliable and slow here.  I know Walgreens is making it available, but not until after we leave. We have until 48 hours before the cruise to cancel if we cannot come up with something.  

 

Tom, if you can make your way down to Brevard County (Viera specifically) you can test at the Brevard Public Health department and they only do walk ins, no appointments.  I called them last week to verify that they do the rapid antigen test and they were very familiar with using that testing for cruising.  We preregistered for Tuesday for our tests.  I've driven by there several times and have never seen a line of cars there.

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