Coronavirus | Featured Stories

COVID guidance for cruise ships optional

Virus Outbreak Florida cruise
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Starting this weekend, cruise lines have the option to follow CDC guidelines regarding COVID 19.
When the CDC’s extended conditional sailing order expires on Saturday, the agency is transitioning to a voluntary program for foreign-flagged cruise ships operating in US waters.
The highest number of cases on any ship has been 1.5%, therefore the cruise industry is going full steam ahead and not turning back again.
The CDC’s order was announced in October of 2020 to establish the safe resumption of cruising with protocols to stop the spread of COVID.
Starting January 15, participation in the CDC program will be voluntary, the agency confirmed Thursday.
The voluntary program only applies to ships operating in US waters and sailing on international itineraries.
The cruise ships that choose to participate in the program “agree to follow all recommendations and guidance issued by CDC as part of this program,” the agency said.
“These recommendations are aimed at reducing the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.”
Industry group Cruise Lines International Association said the CDC’s move to a voluntary program “recognizes the cruise industry’s unwavering commitment to providing some of the highest levels of Covid-19 mitigation found in any industry.”
The agency’s recommendation that all cruise passengers be fully vaccinated and get the booster if eligible is now voluntary, but individual cruise lines may require proof.