CDC updates guidelines for cruise ships to return to service

A little less than a week ago that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC of the United States) ratified in keeping its conditional navigation order until November without changes.

However, on Friday, and after 5 months of waiting , they have published their long-awaited technical guidelines for cruise ships to sail in North American ports.

Last week from different organizations and associations there was clamoring and demanding a change in attitude from the CDC to allow navigation. CEO of shipping companies, CLIA , the association of American travel agencies , and the governor of Florida himself said that the delay and silence of the health agency was enough.

In the Friday night ad, the Centers said the second phase of the order include cruises test to test the new operating procedures of COVID-19 volunteers before sailing with cruise passengers with reservations.

The CDC update, described as ” technical guidance ,” includes a requirement to increase the frequency of COVID-19 reporting on a daily basis.

It also updates a color coding system used to classify vessels for COVID-19 conditions.

It also describes the routine tests of crew members based on the color of the ship and further clarifies the laboratory parameters and test options.

However still There is no clarity on when the cruise ships can begin operating again in US waters.

There is no return date but it is a change of attitude

The seven pages of regulations were published yesterday, Friday, April 2, in the afternoon, they configure the initial guidelines for cruise lines to operate again in ports and territorial waters of the United States.

Although the CDC does not specify the date of return or start of the famous test cruises, they have given some first criteria to be respected for this to happen, it is a great change in the face of the silence of the past months.

In the new addition, shipping companies are asked for proof that they can control an alert with cases of COVID-19 on their ships by themselves. Topics such as quarantine, medical care and evacuation of the infected are specified.

cdc guidelines

Highlights in the new addition to the navigation conditional command:

Among the many technical regulations that the CDC has incorporated into the existing conditional order , some elements that we have already seen in the protocols applied by the shipping companies that are currently operating stand out:

  • Recommendation that all port personnel and travelers (passengers and crew) receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

  • The shipping company must document approval from all U.S. port and local health authorities where the ship intends to dock or dock during one or more simulated voyages or restricted passenger voyages as a condition of receiving a Certificate of Navigation COVID-19 conditional.

  • Specify port operations, a health care plan, and common locations that meet the requirements.

  • Submission of proposals on how the cruise operator intends to incorporate vaccination strategies to maximize the protection of passengers and crew from the introduction, amplification and spread of COVID-19 in the maritime environment and terrestrial communities 

  • Significant boarding control and protocols on board, and evacuation plan during the itinerary 

  • Important landing protocols in the event of an outbreak.

  • Cruise Operator Agreement with all US Port and Local Health Authorities.

  • Travelers’ healthcare needs, including the capacity of local public health, port authority, hospital and other emergency response personnel to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak on board.

  • Specify where the ship will be physically located during the isolation and quarantine period (i.e. at dock or at anchor).

Port Canaveral authorities disappointed with new instructions

Port Canaveral , the world’s second-busiest cruise port, responded to the CDC’s guidance on Friday.

The Captain John Murray , CEO of Port Canaveral indicated after the publication of the CDC:

“ For a year, we have been working closely with our cruise partners and directly with the CDC to find a way forward for the return of cruise ships from Port Canaveral. ”

“ Just today, the CDC announced that vaccinated Americans could travel safely internationally. We are disappointed that this guidance for the cruise industry appears to be nothing more than an incremental step in a far-reaching process to resume passenger travel in the US. With no definite goal or start date. “

CDC Approves Voyages of Vaccinated Americans as Step Toward Cruise Resumption

A few days before the new instructions included in the conditional order, the CDC released the travel authorization for vaccinated Americans .

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky put it this way:

“ For domestic travel, fully vaccinated individuals do not need to be tested for COVID before or after travel and do not need to self-quarantine after travel ”

“ For international travel, fully vaccinated individuals do not need to be tested for COVID-19 before leaving the United States, unless their destination requires it. ”

“ However, fully vaccinated individuals must be tested and have a negative result before boarding an international flight back to the United States, but they do not need quarantine when they get here “

Hopefully these new guidelines are the first signs of a return of cruise ships to the United States and the opening of the boarders so that cruise passengers from all over the world can travel on them. From we will continue to inform about each news as soon as it occurs.


I am an active crew member, and passionate person for the cruise industry, I work as Assistant Waiter for Royal Caribbean, and started this project while stucked at home during the pandemic. Thank you for your support.

Read Previous

Florida asks federal government to approve cruise ship resumption

Read Next

The Vaccine will be mandatory on board NCL, and they hope to return in July

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *