Crew Disembarkations through Commercial Travel

CDC is committed to helping cruise lines provide for the safety and well-being of their crew members while onboard cruise ships and as they disembark. CDC is allowing crew members to disembark from all cruise ships in U.S. waters with certain precautions. Cruise lines with complete and accurate response plans will be able to use commercial travel to disembark crew members from certain ships if the ships meet certain criteria set by CDC including that there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illnesses on board the ship within the last 28 days. These ships are also able to lessen certain social distancing restrictions onboard. Cruise lines with complete and accurate response plans under the No Sail Order but not meeting the above criteria will still be able to disembark their crew members using non-commercial travel. Cruise lines must have measures in place to ensure those involved in transport are not exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, and follow all CDC requirements to prevent interaction of disembarking crew with the public.

Criteria for Commercial Transport of Crew

Learn more about Cruise Ship Crew Member Disembarkations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ships that are requesting the use of commercial travel for disembarking crew members will need to meet the following criteria:

  • A response plan under the No Sail Order that is complete and accurate
    • This does not mean ships are allowed to resume passenger travel, but rather that they have met CDC’s requirements to provide a safe environment for crew members to work and to disembark crew safely by non-commercial travel.
    • Cruise company officials must sign an acknowledgment of the completeness and accuracy of their response plan.
  • No confirmed cases of COVID-19 [1] or COVID-like illness [2] for 28 days, as determined by a qualified medical professional.
  • If the ship has received ship-to-ship transfers, the crew must have come from a ship that had no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness within the 28 days before the transfer occurred.
  • If land-based crew embarked, they were immediately quarantined for 14 days upon embarking the ship.
  • Submission of a signed attestation for commercial travel.

Meeting these criteria does not mean cruise ships can resume passenger operations. We don’t have enough information at this time to say when it will be safe to resume sailing with passengers. Cruise lines may need to establish additional safety measures before sailing with passengers is permitted to resume. CDC will continue to evaluate and update its recommendations as the situation evolves.


  1. Confirmed COVID-19 means laboratory confirmation for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing
  2. COVID-like illness means acute respiratory illness (ARI), influenza-like illness (ILI), or diagnosis of pneumonia.

All cruise ships operating in U.S. waters, or seeking to operate in U.S. waters, must comply with all of the  requirements under the No Sail Order and Interim Guidance During the Period of the No Sail Order for the entire period of the No Sail Order even when outside U.S. waters.

As ships become eligible to transport crew members commercially, this page will provide a list of cruise ships meeting those criteria.

Response Plan Under the No Sail Order

As a prerequisite for requesting commercial travel, cruise lines must have a complete and accurate response plan that provides a safe environment for crew members to work and disembark during the period of the No Sail Order. CDC has provided feedback regarding all the response plans that have been submitted and is working with the cruise lines to ensure they are implementing the safeguards outlined in their plans.

CDC is awaiting acknowledgment signatures from two different cruise lines as a precondition to having complete and accurate No Sail Order response plans.

CDC is in ongoing discussions with five other cruise lines to ensure their plans are complete and accurate to protect their crew members while onboard and during disembarkation, as well as ensure that the cruise ships are implementing the safeguards outlined in their plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

What steps is CDC taking to make sure ships stay in compliance with the criteria for commercial transport of crew?

CDC will review weekly surveillance data provided by ships, and only those ships that continue to report no cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness will maintain this status.

What other changes can cruise ships make if they meet these criteria?

CDC is committed to helping cruise lines provide for the safety and well-being of their crew members onboard. As cruise ships are able to show they have no cases of confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-like illnesses on board, crew members will be able to resume some of their daily interactions with fellow crew members.

Some examples of decreased restrictions on cruise ships if they meet these criteria include resuming in-person meetings, events, and social gatherings; reopening bars, gyms, or other group settings onboard for crew member use; and removing requirements to wear face coverings.

What is the difference between the two attestations CDC requires under the No Sail Order?

Under the No Sail Order, cruise lines are required to develop and implement comprehensive plans to prevent, detect, respond to, and contain COVID-19 among crew members onboard. While these response plans have been under review, CDC has allowed cruise lines to disembark crew members if they submit a signed attestation stating they have complied with the requirements to safely disembark crew members. This attestation included a requirement that crew members only use noncommercial travel to disembark and reach their final destinations and do not interact with the public during travel.

Cruise lines that have a complete and accurate No Sail Order response plan may disembark crew members without a signed attestation if they use noncommercial travel and follow CDC requirements. Cruise company officials must sign an acknowledgment of the completeness and accuracy of their response plan. Cruise ships that want to use commercial travel for crew members must meet additional requirements, which include demonstrating there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness on board and submitting a signed attestation for commercial travel.