CDC Ends Covid-19 Program for Cruise Ships
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ended its COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships this week.
Until now, cruise lines operating in U.S. waters had to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships’ guidance in order to prove they were upholding best practices for the mitigation of COVID-19 aboard their vessels.
“CDC has worked closely with the cruise industry, state, territorial, and local health authorities, and federal and seaport partners to provide a safer and healthier environment for cruise passengers and crew,” the agency says on its website. “Cruise ships have access to guidance and tools to manage their own COVID-19 mitigation programs. Additionally, cruise travelers have access to recommendations that allow them to make informed decisions about cruise ship travel. While cruising poses some risk of COVID-19 transmission, CDC will continue to publish guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for crew, passengers, and communities going forward.”
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released a statement following the news.
“The Cruise Lines International Association and its member cruise lines welcome the decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to end the CDC COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in U.S. Waters in favor of a set of guidelines for public health operations on cruise ships. We look forward to reviewing the details, which we understand will be posted on the CDC website in the coming days. This is an important step forward in the CDC aligning the guidelines for cruise with those it has established for other travel, hospitality, and entertainment sectors. The sunsetting of the CDC Program effective 18 July 2022 is a testament to the effectiveness of the industry’s comprehensive and robust protocols.”
It’s worth mentioning that cruise lines haven’t changed any of their COVID-related protocols yet. So if you’re getting on a cruise soon, you still have to do pre-departure testing and show proof of vaccination. But going forward, some of these rules might change as they’re now left up to the cruise companies to decide for themselves.