The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention on March 14 lowered the COVID-19 travel health notice for cruise ships to Level 2, which is “moderate” risk.
The CDC continues to urge cruise passengers to get recommended COVID-19 vaccines.
“Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself from severe disease, slow the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the number of new variants,” the agency said. “For travelers booking cruise travel now, be aware that the level may change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and may be different by the time of your cruise.”
The CDC also said cruise travel should be avoided for those who are “not up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.”
The move comes as many destinations are lifting COVID-19 mandates and several cruise lines are lifting the masking requirement.
But the CDC does recommend wearing a mask during a cruise when indoors (outside of your cabin) or in crowded outdoor settings: “While CDC is exercising its enforcement discretion under CDC’s Mask Order to not require that persons wear a mask under certain circumstances on cruise ships participating in CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, individual cruise lines may require travelers (passengers and crew) to wear masks on board the ship.”
In mid-February, the CDC lowered the travel health notice for cruising from Level 4, which advised no cruise travel, to Level 3, which advised against cruise travel for those who are not fully vaccinated or those who are at an increased risk of severe illness.