Cruise Lines Change COVID19 Protocols to Include Proof of Vaccination & Testing

Last Friday, the CDC began advising travelers who are at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness to avoid cruises. It is also recommending that passengers show both a recent negative COVID test and proof they’ve been immunized. Several cruise lines have detected infections among vaccinated crew members and passengers, including an elderly traveler who recently died. Now those cruise lines and their destinations are also revising their own guidelines.

In addition to the surging delta virus, the CDC changed its cruise guidelines for high-risk groups because of the close proximity of ship passengers, the limited options for care on board, and the challenges of medically evacuating travelers at sea, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said Tuesday. Neither the cruise lines nor the federal government is reporting how many cases they have had on their ships. They have only acknowledged that there have been infections.


Starting September 3rd, the Bahamas, a favored stop for cruises, is requiring all passengers 12 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for ships to dock. That has prompted companies including Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival to announce this week that they are adopting the same requirement. The companies will ask for a government vaccination card or a record from a health care provider. The companies are also once again requiring masks in indoor areas of the ships and other places where people gather. They’ve been able to do so in Florida after a federal judge this month temporarily blocked a state law banning cruise lines from requiring passengers to prove they’re vaccinated.

Carnival commented on the case of a vaccinated 77-year-old woman who later came down with the virus. The company said the woman “almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship,” suggesting she was already infected when she embarked. “Unfortunately, no venue on land or at sea is COVID-free right now,” Carnival Corp. said in a written statement.



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