All at the cruise operator's discretion.
In its latest COVID-19 operations manual update, the CDC gave cruise operators much more leeway regarding fully vaccinated travelers and near normalcy for ships with at least 95% of crew and passengers fully vaccinated.
The measures go a long way toward restoring the traditional cruise experience — and even allow self-serve buffets in specific circumstances.
Everything hinges on being vaccinated
Everything hinges on being fully vaccinated, while the greatest freedom is for inoculated travelers on ships with at least 95% of crew and passengers vaccinated.
At their discretion, cruise operators may advise passengers and crew that — if they are fully vaccinated — they may gather or conduct activities outdoors, including engaging in extended meal service or beverage consumption, without wearing a mask.
They also may advise crew who are fully vaccinated that they do not have to wear a mask or maintain physical distance in areas of the ship that are inaccessible to passengers.
Access to some areas without distancing or masks — even self-serve buffets
They may designate areas as only accessible to fully vaccinated passengers and crew where masks and physical distancing are not required — for example, casinos, bars, spas, entertainment venues and dining areas, including self-serve buffets.
Greatest freedom for ships with 95% vaccinated travelers
And, the best for last: For vaccinated travelers on ships with at least 95% of crew and passengers fully vaccinated, operators have the discretion to advise passengers and crew they do not have to wear a mask or maintain physical distance in any areas.