Skip to Content

CDC Releases New Guidance For Cruise Ship Travelers

Share The Article

Last Updated

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance for cruise ship travelers this past Friday.

From August 20, 2021, the CDC recommends that people who are at increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19 should avoid cruises altogether. This is regardless of vaccination status.

a hammock tied to two palm trees at the beach. cruise ship in the background

People Advised Against Cruise Ship Travel

Those advised against any type of cruise ship travel are persons of any age with some underlying medical conditions, people with weakened immune systems, people who take medicines which suppress their immune systems and older adults. This is because those individuals are more likely to get severely ill if they contract the virus. People who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 should also avoid travel on cruise ships.

According to the CDC guidance, recognized vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen and AstraZeneca/Oxford.

woman from the back holding her hat on her head on a cruise ship starring out at the water

The guidance on cruise ship travel is constantly evolving. As stated on the CDC website, “the virus spreads easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, and the chance of getting Covid-19 on cruise ships is high. Outbreaks of Covid-19 have been reported on cruise ships.”

These new restrictions include all cruise ship travel, including river cruises, in the U.S. and abroad.

restaurant at a cruise dock on a sunny day

If you’re an individual at increased risk for severe illness and thinking about planning a trip aboard a cruise, it’s advised to consult with your trusted healthcare professional.

Please note that this new CDC guidance is only limited to cruise ship passengers, and does not rule out all styles of travel.

river cruise boat in Passau, Germany.

The Cruise Ship Industry And Its Recovery

With Covid cases rising throughout the U.S. and a highly contagious delta variant, the industry worries about threatening its recovery, after more than a year all all cruise ship travel being halted.

In an eager restart, some cruise ships set sail in the U.S. starting this past June, after 15 months of being docked due to the ongoing pandemic.

family of four holding hands walking on the beach while on a cruise. sunset and cruise ship in the background.

Safety Protocols For Cruise Ship Travelers

The CDC website offers some key health guidance to cruise ship travelers. It is recommended to read the following if you’re planning on going on a cruise anytime in the near future:

  • Do not board the cruise ship if you have any symptoms of Covid-19, if you have Covid, are waiting for the results of a recent Covid test, or if you’ve been in direct contact with someone who’s tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 14 days (unless you’ve recovered from the virus over the past 90 days).
  • Get travel insurance that covers overseas medical care and emergency evacuation just in case.
  • All cruise ship travelers should be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with no less than 14 days before your last dose.
  • Have a negative Covid viral test result 1-3 days before leaving on a cruise ship.
  • Wash your hands well, and often.
woman taking a picture of cruise ships sailing in the distance

More CDC Cruise Travel Safety Guidelines

  • Wear a mask in shared public spaces. Individual cruise lines may require passengers and crew to wear masks while indoors on the ship. Earlier this year, the CDC issued a Mask Order for travelers on all forms of public transportation (including cruises).
  • If you feel unwell and/or are experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19, it is recommended to stay in your cabin and contact the onboard medical center right away.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after returning from your cruise.

When planning your trip, it is recommended to read the latest guidance for each destination in which you’ll be visiting, because travel restrictions vary between regions.

Carnival Fascination cruise ship at a docking station

Read More

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19

The Bahamas Now Requires All Cruise Ship Passengers To Be Fully Vaccinated

↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Monday 23rd of August 2021

So let's address NoroVirus then. Should everyone avoid cruising since there's a risk of this virus, too?? That's highly contagious and will put people in up to a 5-day quarantine. Ah, yes, no one has died from it as far as any MSM reporting goes.

Riddle me this: Why the Cruise Industry ONLY? Why are other forms of travel "OK"? Plane, Train, Bus, Subway...

Let's take PLANE travel as an example: Flights, sometimes for VERY LONG nonstop hours! <== Sitting next to, behind, in front of, across a 1.5 ft. aisle -- wearing a mask but removed for eating/drinking (which some people "milk" that mask-time "off") yet perfectly acceptable with apparently NO serious fear of CV-19?

Just when the world was just reopening tourism little-by-little at the beginning of the summer, along comes a "variant" and *BOOM* -- the CDC steps in and mandates just as heavy orders as March 2020. We've taken 20 steps backwards.

BTW? How come 2020 and 2021 haven't reported hardly any Influenza A & B cases -- all flu is "Covid"?

WHEN will this end? My clients who have been cancelling their travel plans (of all forms) since the CDC's edict the last week of July, are cancelling due to their ANGER over this. Many see it as a political ploy. They tell me they are NOT afraid of Covid (whether vaccinated or not -- I don't ask, they volunteer that info in conversation).

As someone in the travel industry, I do NOT see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm beginning to believe my clients POV that this IS political.

Anthony Frodella

Wednesday 25th of August 2021

@Ron,I could not agree with you more Ron. This is politically motivated. First the vaccine was pushed as a necessary, now the booster. Soon the booster will not be enough and something else will be required and then that will still not be enough. I have serious doubts if we will ever get back to normal with the socialists trying to take over. My wife and I are going on a cruise end of October and we are looking forward to it.


Tuesday 24th of August 2021

@Ron, have a great cruise and enjoy it! I just came back and it was great. I do strongly believe they are just picking in the cruise industry. Florida is a beautiful state. We need to be careful but we need to also have a life!


Monday 23rd of August 2021

@Ron, when we face hardships like disasters or epidemics, we should deal with them as responcible adults, not hiding in denials and not looking for someone to blame, and not escaping into conspiracy theories. Yes it is hard, but not as hard as war or famine. Get hold of yourself.


Monday 23rd of August 2021

@Crikey, it IS politically motivated. It's all about government control over the common folk. It's not just the cruise industry, it's democrat controlled blue states. Here in NYC, you cannot enter any indoor venues, restaurants, gyms, stadiums (even outdoors baseball) without showing a vax card and matching ID. And this is in a city that's supposedly 70% vaxxed overall. When will the nonsense end? I can't wait to return to my winter condo in mid Atlantic coastal Florida and will probably sell my house here in NYC at some point not too far into the future. I'm sick of the restrictive atmosphere in the blue states. BTW, I'm booked on a cruise out of nearby Port Canaveral in late February. Short of testing positive on sail-a-away day, I'm sailing.