Home Cruise Safety CDC Makes Changes to COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships


Watching the sunrise from a cruise deck
Watching the sunrise from a cruise deck. (photo by Codie Liermann)

Quietly on Friday, March 18, the CDC made a couple of very positive changes in its COVID-19 program that has been in effect since February. The changes affect those ships in a Highly Vaccinated or Vaccination Standard of Excellence classification.

Here are a couple of the highlights:

Cruise lines can now return to offering “passenger interactive experiences” that were previously under suspension. This means things such as galley tours and cooking classes, mixology contests and other “behind the scenes” events are free to resume.

There are no longer any ship and capacity limits at ports. Also, the requirements for physical distancing during shore excursions were changed to a recommendation.

Finally, if someone is found to be in close contact with a COVID-19 positive guest or crew member, and they are identified within 36 hours prior to disembarkation they can quarantine in their own cabin (provided they are the only person in the cabin). Previously, guests were all moved to isolation cabins.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) had the following this to say:

“The updates announced today acknowledge the effectiveness of the cruise lines in their ability to create an environment that provides one of the highest levels of COVID-19 mitigation and reflect the improvements in the public health landscape.”

Earlier this week, the CDC lowered the health warning for cruise ships to a Level 2 Moderate.

More detailed information can be found on the CDC website.

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