The CDC has lifted its Covid-19 risk warning for cruise travel, dropping cruise ships from its list of travel health notices.
This choice is a relief for the industry that was subject to some of the strictest Covid-19 restrictions in the travel sector. According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), this move takes into account the numerous public health measures that are being implemented onboard cruise ships, and places cruise travel on the same level as any other venue on land for the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, CLIA added that its cruise line members are strictly following health measures that are “unmatched by virtually any other commercial setting.”
However, the CDC decision does not mean that there is no risk of Covid-19 infections on cruise ships. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, travelers can now make their own risk assessment when choosing to go on a cruise, exactly as they do in all other travel settings. Moreover, the CDC still advises travelers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before embarking on a cruise. It also advises travelers at higher risk to consult with their doctors about additional precautions.
Precautions on cruise ships
Since large ships resumed sailing from US ports in June 2021, vaccination and testing requirements have been widespread on cruises. Until last January, CDC rules required 95% of both cruise passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated. Some cruise lines even required vaccination for all passengers and crew. Once the CDC vaccination order expired in January, the health protection agency implemented a voluntary opt-in program for foreign-flagged cruise ships operating in the US. The CDC recommends travelers to check the cruise ship’s color code and vaccination status classification before traveling. This dashboard tracks Covid-19 cases reported for each ship in the CDC program, as well as other Covid-related information.