Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

CDC lowers threshold for 'highly vaccinated' cruises

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the threshold for 'highly vaccinated' cruise ships and clarified mask guidance.

To qualify as 'highly vaccinated,' a ship must have 90% of passengers fully vaccinated, down from 95% previously. This applies to vaccine-eligible passengers (5 years and older).

Crew threshold remains 95% vaccinated

The crew vaccination threshold remains at 95%.

Isolation rooms

In another change to COVID-19 guidance for cruise ships operating to/from US waters, isolation rooms no longer need to have negative pressure, but they must still be located in predesignated areas. The exception to transferring individuals to predesignated cabins if they test positive within 36 hours of disembarkation remains in effect.

Mask guidance 

As well, acknowledging the federal mask mandate is no longer in effect for transportation, the CDC noted that while the US government continues to recommend masks in cruise terminals, it does not require them.

However, port authorities and local health officials may independently maintain mask requirements.

CLIA welcomes the updates

Cruise Lines International Association welcomed the updates.

'The CDC’s adjustment of vaccination and quarantine and isolation room requirements recognizes the highly protective measures in place on board cruise ships and is in keeping with the CDC’s lifting of any travel-related advisory against cruising,' the association said. 'CLIA-member cruise lines continue to provide one of the highest levels of COVID-19 mitigation for the traveling public with higher vaccination rates and higher frequency of testing than most any other settings.'

CLIA added: 'We look forward to the further development of the [voluntary COVID-19 mitigation] program [for cruise ships] to bring greater alignment across the travel and tourism sector.'