CDC Recommending Cruise Passengers, Crew Be Vaccinated Before Boarding

"All eligible port personnel and travelers (passengers and crew) get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to them."

The CDC is encouraging all future cruise passengers and crew to get the COVID-19 vaccine before setting sail in updated guidance released Friday.

"As more people are fully vaccinated, the phased approach allows CDC to incorporate these advancements into planning for resumption of cruise ship travel when it is safe to do so," the agency wrote in its updated Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO). "CDC recommends that all eligible port personnel and travelers (passengers and crew) get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to them."

Several cruise lines have said they will require adult passengers to be vaccinated when sailings resume, with several lines planning fully-inoculated journeys in the Caribbean and Europe this summer.

Royal Caribbean
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In addition to vaccines, the CDC said test cruises could begin soon as a way for cruise lines to practice COVID-19 procedures with volunteers. The concept, which was initially announced last year, has drawn huge numbers of excited would-be cruisers.

"The next phase of the CSO will include simulated (trial) voyages that will allow crew and port personnel to practice new COVID-19 operational procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers," the CDC wrote. "CDC is committed to working with the cruise industry and seaport partners to resume cruising when it is safe to do so, following the phased approach outlined in the CSO."

The agency also updated its color-coding guidance, reducing the duration of phases from 28 days to 14 days based on increased availability of onboard testing, routine testing protocols, and daily reporting.

The updated guidance also comes as the CDC said vaccinated Americans could travel throughout the country without the need to quarantine or get tested, and did not have to quarantine upon returning from an international trip.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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