The CDC has proposed voluntary new rules for cruises and cruise lines can choose to opt out of the program by February 18, 2022.
The CDC currently has a Level 4 rating for cruises and their new COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships will go into effect next week for cruise lines that opt into the program. The CDC’s previous Conditional Sail Order expired on January 15, 2022.
The CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships will have classifications based on the vaccination rates on each ship. This new program includes booster shots and will be as follows:
- Not Highly Vaccinated: Cruise ships with less than 95% passengers and 95% crew who are fully vaccinated.
- Highly Vaccinated: Cruise ships with at least 95% passengers and 95% crew who are fully vaccinated, but with less than 95% of passengers and 95% of crew who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
- Vaccination Standard of Excellence: Cruise ships with at least 95% passengers and 95% crew who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
Cruise lines that choose to participate in this program will have to give the CDC the vaccination status of each cruise ship. They will be required to follow all recommendations and guidance of the program. This includes the Mask Order for passengers and crew members.
Cruise ships that adhere to the “Highly Vaccinated” or “Vaccinated Standard of Excellence” will be required to meet those thresholds for each cruise.
The COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships is 100% voluntary for cruise lines. Cruise lines that do not notify the CDC by February 18 will be automatically opted out of the program.
The CDC will color code ships from cruise lines that opt out as “Gray” ships on the CDC’s Cruise Ship Color Status.
The CDC defines “up to date with COVID-19 vaccines” as those who have received all recommended doses, including booster shots.