Travelers Returning from Cruise Ship and River Cruise Voyages

Travelers Returning from Cruise Ship and River Cruise Voyages

Learn what CDC is doing to help cruise ship travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 2, 2021, CDC released a new phase of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (originally issued October 30, 2020external icon) for cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in U.S. waters. CDC published Technical Instructions for cruise ship operators and for local health authorities outlining this phase of the Conditional Sailing Order.

CDC recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. That’s because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships. It is especially important for people with an increased risk of severe illness to avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises. CDC has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for cruise ship travel.

Passengers who decide to travel should take the following steps to protect others after their return from a cruise ship or river cruise voyage:

  • If you are fully vaccinated:
    • Get tested 3–5 days after your trip.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after travel; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • You do NOT need to stay home and self-quarantine after cruise travel.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated:
    • Get tested 3–5 days after your trip.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after travel; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after cruise travel, even if you test negative.
    • If you do not get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after cruise travel.
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
  • If you recently recovered from COVID-19:
    • If you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 3 months and met criteria to end isolation, you do NOT need to get tested before or after cruise travel unless you are symptomatic. CDC has found that people can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after they had COVID-19 and not be infectious to others.
    • You also do NOT need to self-quarantine after cruise travel.
  • Always follow state and localexternal icon recommendations or requirements related to travel.

What to do if you get sick after travel

If you get sick with fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19 following cruise travel:

  • You might have COVID-19. If you do, know that most people are able to recover at home without medical care.
  • Stay home and take other precautions. Avoid contact with others until it’s safe for you to end home isolation.
  • Don’t travel when you are sick or if you have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and let them know you might have COVID-19.
  • If you have an emergency warning sign (such as trouble breathing), get emergency medical care immediately.
  • If you live in close quarters with others, take additional precautions to protect them.