The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an update lowering the cruise ship COVID-19 travel health notice from Level 3 (high) to Level 2 (moderate).
The risk level is based on the incidence rate, with level 2 warning meaning that there have been between 50 and 99 new cases per 100,000 population over the past 28 days.
The new guidelines mean that cruisers need to be sure that they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines before embarkation.
CDC recommends that cruise passengers check their cruise ship’s color code and vaccination status classification before traveling and get a COVID-19 viral test “as close to time of cruise departure as possible (no more than three days).”
Facemasks should still be worn over the nose and mouth indoors or in “crowded outdoor settings” when cruising, unless inside the guests’ own cabins.
“While CDC is exercising its enforcement discretion under CDC’s Mask Order to not require that persons wear a mask under certain circumstances on cruise ships participating in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, individual cruise lines may require travelers (passengers and crew) to wear masks onboard the ship,” the organization wrote.
Cruisers are also encouraged to get tested three to five days after the cruise, even if they’re vaccinated.
The CDC says that if travelers are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines and are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, they should still avoid cruise ship travel.
“(The) chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is moderate, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines,” the CDC stated.