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Cruise Ship Travel During COVID-19

Cruise Ship Travel During COVID-19
Updated July 18, 2022

As of July 18, 2022, CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships is no longer in effect. CDC will continue to publish guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for passengers, crew and communities going forward. For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

What You Need to Know

  • Check if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before cruise ship travel.
  • If you have a medical condition or are taking medication that weakens your immune system, you might NOT be fully protected even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk before travel. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking precautions.
  • 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.
  • Check directly with your cruise line about their testing or vaccination protocols before travel.
  • If your cruise line does not have a testing requirement, get tested for current infection with a COVID-19 viral test as close to time of cruise departure as possible (no more than 3 days before you travel).
  • Get tested again with a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after your cruise.

Before Cruise Travel

Do not travel or board a cruise ship if…

  • You are sick with COVID-19.
  • You tested positive for COVID-19 less than 5 days ago (day 0 is the day your symptoms started or the day your positive test sample was taken if you had no symptoms).
  • You had close contact with a person with COVID-19 in the past 5 days and are 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.
    • Properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others through day 10. If you are unable to wear a mask, you should not travel during this time.

Check with your cruise line regarding their policies.

Plan ahead

  • Be up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before travel.
  • Check if your cruise line requires proof of vaccination or pre-embarkation testing, or has any other requirements to board.
  • If traveling by air before or after cruise travel, check if your airline or destination (see here for U.S. requirement) requires any testing, vaccination, or other documents.
  • Consider getting travel insurance. Consider buying additional insurance that covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas. Make sure you have a plan to get care overseas, in case you need it.

Pre-embarkation Testing

  • If your cruise line does not have a testing requirement, get tested for current infection with a viral test (no more than 3 days) before boarding a cruise ship, regardless of your vaccination status. Get your test results before you board your cruise.
    • If you recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, testing is not generally recommended unless you have symptoms. People can continue to test positive for up to 90 days after diagnosis and not be infectious to others. Check with your cruise line regarding their specific policies, including if you need to provide a copy of your positive test result and a letter from your healthcare provider documenting that you recovered from COVID-19.
  • If you or your travel companions have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive at embarkation, the cruise ship may deny you from boarding. If you are allowed to board, you may be required to isolate or quarantine, depending on your symptoms and test results.

During Cruise Travel

Protect Yourself and Others


If You Develop Symptoms or Use a Self-Test on Board with a Positive Result

  • Isolate yourself in your cabin immediately.
  • Call your ship’s medical center.

Cruise ships may have their own requirements for testing, isolation, quarantine, mask wearing, and dining for people with COVID-19 or their close contacts. If you have questions about a cruise ship’s specific policies, please contact them directly.

  • If you disembark the ship before completing your isolation or quarantine period, you should follow CDC’s guidance, or local guidance if you disembark in another country.

After Cruise Travel

Frequently Asked Questions