Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
UPDATE
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.
UPDATE
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

Cruise Ship Travel During COVID-19

Cruise Ship Travel During COVID-19

As of 12:01AM ET on June 12, 2022, CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. For more information, see Rescission: Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for all Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving into the United States from Any Foreign Country.

CDC’s Temporary Extension & Modification of Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) expired on January 15, 2022. CDC recommends that cruise ships operating in U.S. waters choose to participate in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships.

What You Need to Know

  • Make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before cruise ship travel.
  • If you are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, talk to your healthcare provider about what additional precautions may be needed before, during, and after travel.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships. If the virus is spreading on board a cruise ship, passengers and crew are at risk for infection, even if they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Check your cruise ship’s color and vaccination status classification before traveling. Be aware that the ship’s status could change over time and may be different by the time of your cruise.
  • Get a COVID-19 viral test as close to time of cruise departure as possible (no more than 3 days) before you travel.
  • Get a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after your cruise, regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status.
Cruise Ship Color Status
Cruise Ship Color Status

CDC has listed the cruise ships operating or planning to operate in United States waters. “Gray” designated cruise ships have chosen not to participate in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. Check your cruise ship’s status before traveling.

Before You Board

Make sure to plan ahead:

  • Check your cruise ship’s color and vaccination status.
    • Foreign-flagged [1] cruise ships operating in U.S. waters and choosing not to participate in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships (“Gray” status) may have their own COVID-19 health and safety protocols, which CDC has not reviewed or confirmed.
    • U.S.-flagged [2] cruise ships that sail only in U.S. waters and have chosen not to participate in CDC’s Program for Cruise Ships will not be listed on CDC’s Cruise Ship Color Status webpage because they report cases to state and local jurisdictions.
    • CDC cannot confirm the COVID-19 public health measures implemented on “Gray” designated ships or cruise ships not listed on CDC’s Cruise Ship Color Status webpage. Therefore, CDC does not have information about precautions and interventions, such as mask use, crew testing, or vaccination status for passengers and crew on these ships.
  • Check if your cruise line requires testing and/or vaccination or has any other requirements to board.
  • If traveling by air, check if your airline requires any testing, vaccination, or other documents. See below for information about requirements if traveling by air to the United States.
  • 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.
  • Everyone aged 2 years or older—including passengers and workers— should properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in indoor areas of public transportation and transportation hubs, especially in locations that are crowded or poorly ventilated such as airport jetways and cruise ship terminals.

Proof of Vaccination

Testing

  • If you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, you must get tested with a viral test no more than 3 days before boarding a cruise ship [3].
  • If you are fully vaccinated [4] for COVID-19, you must get tested with a viral test no more than 2 days before boarding a cruise ship.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you must get tested with a viral test no more than 3 days before boarding a cruise ship. You will be tested again by the cruise ship personnel on embarkation day before boarding. One of your two tests must be a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) such as RT-PCR.
  • Check with your cruise line to see if they require a certain type of COVID-19 test.
  • If you or your travel companions test positive at embarkation, the cruise ship may deny you from boarding.
    • If you are allowed to board after testing positive, you will be required to isolate. Your travel companions who did not test positive will be required to quarantine.
  • Check if your cruise line has other testing requirements.

[1] Cruise ships registered in a country other than the United States.

[2] Cruise ships registered in the United States.

[3] Testing requirements only apply to passengers boarding ships that are participating in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships. Passengers sailing on “Gray” status ships or cruise ships sailing only in U.S. waters (e.g., U.S. rivers) and choosing not to participate in the COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships are recommended to get tested as soon as possible (no more than 3 days) before their cruise departs. They should also check with their cruise line for testing requirements.

[4] Fully vaccinated means a person has received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. For more information: Stay Up to Date with Your Vaccines | CDC

Do NOT travel if…

  • You have COVID-19 symptoms, even if you recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days or are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Do not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms.
  • You are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test.
    • If your test comes back positive while you are at your destination, you will need to isolate and postpone your return until it’s safe for you to travel. Your travel companions may need to quarantine.
  • You had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and are recommended to quarantine.
    • Do not travel until a full 5 days after your last close contact with the person with COVID-19. It is best to avoid travel for a full 10 days after your last exposure.
    • If you must travel during days 6 through 10 after your last exposure:
      • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact. Make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling. If you don’t get tested, avoid travel until a full 10 days after your last close contact with a person with COVID-19.
      • Properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during days 6 through 10. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during days 6 through 10.

If you had close contact with a person with COVID-19 but are NOT recommended to quarantine...

  • Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact. Make sure your test result is negative and you remain without symptoms before traveling.
    • If you had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you do NOT need to get tested, but you should still follow all other recommendations (including getting tested if you develop COVID-19 symptoms).
  • If you travel during the 10 days after your last exposure, properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during the 10 days. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during the 10 days.

While You’re on Board

Masks

   RECOMMENDED
  • Wear a well-fitting mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of your vaccination status.
  • You do not have to wear a mask inside your own cabin.
  • Follow ship-specific mask protocols, which may change as the pandemic evolves and differ for passengers based on their vaccination status. For example:
    • Cruise ships may advise all passengers and crew that they do not have to wear a mask when outdoors.
    • They may also designate areas where masks are not required (e.g., casinos; bars; spas; entertainment venues; and dining areas) as only accessible to passengers and crew who are fully vaccinated or up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines according to the cruise ship’s policies.

Protect Yourself and Others

   RECOMMENDED
  • 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. It’s important to report your symptoms, even if they are mild, to protect others on board including passengers at increased risk for severe illness and crew.

What to expect if you develop COVID-19 symptoms or are confirmed to have COVID-19 while on board:

  • You will be isolated immediately.
    • The cruise ship will follow its routine protocol for managing people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 on board. The isolation may occur on board or at a shoreside location.
    • If your ship allows a shortened isolation option for passengers on board then you will have to follow additional public health measures, including dining inside your cabin and properly wearing a well-fitting mask at all times when you are outside your cabin, until 10 days after your symptoms started or your positive test was taken if you did not have symptoms.

What to expect if you are were exposed to COVID-19 while on board:

  • You may be tested for COVID-19 and need to quarantine. If you are on a ship participating in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, you will quarantine based on your vaccination status.
    • If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, at the cruise ship operator’s discretion, you will be required to:
      • Quarantine for 10 days after last exposure; or
      • Quarantine for 5 days after your last exposure followed by 5 days of daily viral testing.
    • If you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, at the cruise ship operator’s discretion, you will be required to:
      • Quarantine for 5 days after last exposure; or
      • Be tested daily for COVID-19 for 5 days after your last exposure instead of a 5-day quarantine.
    • Regardless of your vaccination status, during the 10 days after your last exposure, you will need to follow additional public health measures including dining inside your cabin and properly wearing a well-fitting mask at all times when you are outside your cabin (indoors and outdoors).
  • Cruise ship operators may have their own requirements. If you have questions about a cruise line’s specific policies, please contact them directly.
  • If you disembark the ship before completing your quarantine period, you should follow CDC’s guidance for the general population, including guidance for travel.

After You Disembark

Testing

   RECOMMENDED

Protect Yourself and Others

   RECOMMENDED
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days after travel; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms, regardless of your vaccination status.
  • Always follow state, local, and territorial recommendations or requirements related to travel.

If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Stay home and self-quarantine for a full 5 days after cruise travel, even if you do not have symptoms.

If You Recently Recovered from COVID-19*

  • Do not board a cruise ship if you developed COVID-19 less than 10 days ago (day 0 is the day your symptoms started or the day your positive test sample was taken if you had no symptoms).
  • If you tested positive for COVID-19 infection no less than 10 days and no more than 90 days before the date of embarkation and recovered (regardless of your vaccination status), you do NOT need to get tested before or after cruise travel unless you have symptoms. People can continue to test positive for up to 90 days after diagnosis and not be infectious to others.
    • Travel with a copy of your positive test result and a letter from your healthcare provider 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 (within the past 90 days) recovered from COVID-19.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after travel, isolate and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.

*People are considered recovered from COVID-19 after 10 full days after their symptoms started and if they are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and their other symptoms have improved (the day symptoms started is day 0), or 10 days after their positive test sample was collected if they didn’t have symptoms (the day of the positive test is day 0).

Frequently Asked Questions