COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel for Travelers Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated
June 16, 2021
Lowered from Level 4 to Level 3, and specified the notice is for travelers who are not fully vaccinated.
Key Information for Cruise Ship Travelers Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated
- CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. Since the virus spreads more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high. It is especially important that people who are not fully vaccinated and at an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises.
- Cruise passengers who are not fully vaccinated are more likely to get COVID-19, which spreads person-to-person, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.
- People who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 1–3 days before their trip and 3–5 days after their trip.
- In addition to testing, passengers who are not fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for 7 days after cruise travel, even if they test negative. If they do not get tested, they should self-quarantine for 10 days after cruise travel.
- See recommendations for cruise ship travelers.
What is the current situation?
CDC has released all of the necessary requirements and recommendations that cruise ship operators need to resume passenger operations under the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), originally issued October 30, 2020). The CSO is a phased approach to resuming passenger operations on cruise ships. CDC may adjust these requirements and recommendations based on public health considerations and other factors.
At this time, CDC still recommends people who are not fully vaccinated avoid any travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is high. It is especially important that people who are not fully vaccinated and are more likely to get severely ill avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises. Cruise passengers who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at increased risk, since the virus spreads person-to-person, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships because of their congregate (group) settings where COVID-19 spreads easily.
What can travelers do to protect themselves and others?
CDC recommends that travelers get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers who are not fully vaccinated should avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide.
Do not board a cruise ship if you have symptoms of COVID-19, if you know you have COVID-19, if you were exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 viral test.
If you are considering cruise travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, discuss this type of travel with your healthcare provider. Older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at more likely to get severely ill if they get COVID-19.
If you go on a cruise during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Before you travel:
- Get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after a single dose in a one-dose series or 2 weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series.
- Get tested with a COVID-19 viral test 1–3 days before your departure, even if you are fully vaccinated.
- If you test positive, isolate and do NOT travel.
- Get travel insurance. Make sure you have a plan to get care overseas, in case you need it. Consider buying additional insurance that covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas.
While you are traveling:
- Stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you. It’s important to do this everywhere—both indoors and outdoors—if you are not fully vaccinated.
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are in shared spaces. Masks are required (even for fully vaccinated people) on planes, cruise ships, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports, seaports, and train and subway stations. If a conveyance has outdoor areas, wearing a mask is not required while outdoors.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay in your cabin, and notify the onboard medical center immediately.
If you are returning to an international port or disembarking an international river cruise:
- Your return travel plans may be affected. Foreign health officials may implement formal quarantine procedures if they identify a case of COVID-19 aboard your cruise ship.
- If you travel on a cruise ship or river cruise and disembark in a foreign port, you might not be able to receive appropriate medical care or be medically evacuated if you get sick.
- Some countries might refuse to dock your ship or allow passengers to disembark.
If you return to the United States by air:
- All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.
After you travel, if you are not fully vaccinated:
- Get tested 3–5 days after your trip.
- If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after travel; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
- Stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after cruise travel, even if you test negative.
- If you do not get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after cruise travel.
- Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
Information for people who recently recovered from COVID-19
- If you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 3 months and met criteria to end isolation, you do NOT need to get tested before or after cruise travel unless you are symptomatic. CDC has found that people can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after they had COVID-19 and not be infectious to others.
- Travel with a copy of your positive test result and a letter from your healthcare or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.” If you are asked by officials in a foreign country, you may be required to show this documentation.
- You also do NOT need to self-quarantine after cruise travel if you have recently recovered from COVID-19, even if you are not fully vaccinated.
For additional information
- Travelers Returning from Cruise Ship and River Cruise Voyages
- Domestic Travel During COVID-19
- International Travel During COVID-19
- Information for Healthcare Professionals about COVID-19
- U.S. Department of State Cruise Ship Passengers
- Interim Guidance for Ships on Managing COVID-19
- Cruise Ship Guidance
This notice was originally posted March 17, 2020.