After more than two years, the CDC has dropped its Travel Health Notice for cruising.
“Travelers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings,” CDC spokesperson Dave Daigle told USA Today.
The move comes soon after the CDC moved cruising to Level 2 from Level 3 on its risk scale. Since cruising resumed, lines have followed protocols put in place by special advisory panels they convened to minimize passengers’ risk of contracting COVID.
The “decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to altogether remove the Travel Health Notice for cruising recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land, for the first time since March 2020," Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement.
The CDC will maintain a color-coded database on individual ships that operate in U.S. waters. Only one ship has opted out of the program, while 108 have opted in. All but three have a status designation of “highly vaccinated,” as most cruise lines require passengers to be fully vaccinated to sail.
With destinations all over the world removing restrictions, cruise lines are gearing up to run their full fleets for an in-demand year. Alaska is set to see a full cruise season for the first time since 2019. With Canadian ports welcoming ships once more, autumn foliage cruises will be in full swing. Other popular cruise destinations such as Australia and New Zealand have recently announced reopening plans. Lines are unveiling 2023-24 world cruise itineraries and selling out in mere days.
A NerdWallet/Harris Poll survey found that 70% of Americans are planning to travel in the next year, with nearly half planning two or more trips. So if you haven’t started planning, you’d be wise to contact your travel advisor now. As always, your advisor will keep you up to date on requirements for your cruise line or tour operator and the destinations you’re visiting.
As more destinations open, we’re thrilled to make your travel dreams come true. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead to ensure the best possible experience.