Cruise Ship Travel During COVID-19
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.
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.
Make sure to plan ahead:
- Check your cruise ship’s color and vaccination status.
- Foreign-flagged  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  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.
- Wearing a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and train stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus). Learn more about mask use while on board a cruise ship.
Proof of Vaccination
- Make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
- Check if your cruise line requires proof of vaccination.
- Non-U.S. citizen, non-U.S. immigrants traveling to the United States by air are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated  against COVID-19. Only limited exceptions apply. Learn more about this requirement.
- 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 .
- If you are fully vaccinated  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.
- Check if your cruise line has other testing requirements.
- If traveling to the U.S. by air all passengers ages 2 years and older, regardless of their vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 viral test taken no more than 1 day before air travel to the United States, or documentation that they recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight.
- Depending on your travel itinerary, your COVID-19 test result used for air travel may also be used for boarding the cruise ship.
- Children under 2 years of age are not exempt from the preboarding testing requirement for cruise ships participating in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships.
 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.
 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- Get tested 3–5 days after your trip.
- If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. Learn what to do if you are sick and when it is safe to be around others.
- Check for COVID-19 testing locations near youexternal icon.
- You may be contacted after disembarking if you were exposed to someone confirmed with COVID-19 while on board the cruise ship.
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 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).
Your return travel plans may be affected. Foreign health officials may implement mandatory quarantine procedures if they identify a person with COVID-19 on board your cruise ship.
If you get sick or test positive for COVID-19 while on an international voyage or at a foreign port, you might not be able to receive appropriate medical care or you might be medically evacuated if you get sick. Some countries might refuse to dock your ship or allow passengers to disembark.
CDC does not have COVID-19 mitigation requirements for private maritime vessels entering a U.S. port from a foreign port. However, state, territorial, and local governments may have testing requirements, so please check and follow state, territorial and local government recommendations or requirements.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the primary authority at U.S. Ports of Entry, and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) is responsible for maritime security and law enforcement. Please contact CBP and/or USCG for more information regarding your ability to enter the United States at a maritime point of entry.