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USA & Caribbean cruises: Cruise Covid measures relaxed - what are new rules?

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Updated on:

US cruises and holidays have been off the table for months on end due to Covid. However, an important step forward was announced yesterday.

America's CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) updated its restrictions for cruise travel, impacting USA - and some Caribbean cruises.

Under new rules, cruise lines are no longer required to test fully vaccinated passengers before or after a sailing.

Holidaymakers who have already contracted and recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days are also exempt from testing should they come into contact with a confirmed case of the virus - as long as they are symptomatic.

This latest easing of USA coronavirus measures applies to simulated and restricted sailings under the agency's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order.

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This impacts passenger ships carrying over 250 people (passengers and crew) intending to operate overnight cruises from territorial waters and waterways of the United States.

The framework doesn't apply to cruises around the world but it applies to regions including Hawaii, Alaska and territories such as St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Rules do remain in place for non-vaccinated travellers, however.

Un-jabbed passengers need to be tested on the day of embarkation ahead of boarding.

They also need to be swabbed on the day they disembark and between all back-to-back sailings.

If unvaccinated guests come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus, they will need to be tested and potentially quarantine for 14 days.

Vaccine
US holidays: Travel to the USA will be opened up to all full-vaccinated travellers from November. Credit: Shutterstock

Anyone - vaccinated or otherwise - must be tested for Covid if they show signs or symptoms.

The CDC urges cruise lines to use PCR tests but says that rapid antigen tests (also known as lateral flow tests) are also allowed.

The new rules follow further updates from the CDC.

The authority said vaccinated cruise passengers are allowed to go massless when in certain outdoors settings.

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What's more, they are no longer obliged to book port excursions with their cruise line.

The CDC also recommended all crew and holidaymakers get vaccinated ahead of a cruise holiday - and said such travellers could travel freely.

Cruises in the USA have set to resume but it is hoped sailings will start up again in mid-summer, with test sailings to begin soon.

The country is currently on the UK's amber list which means upon return home you must quarantine in the place you’re staying for 10 days and take two COVID-19 tests.

Nyc
USA cruises: The country is currently on the UK's amber list. Credit: Shutterstock
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The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's current advice states: "The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of the US based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

"However, the FCDO is not advising against all but essential travel to the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands."

Hope was also raised for US holidays as the CDC moved the UK from level four category to level three.

The latter permits non-essential travel such as for work or study.

Many in the industry, including major airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have called for the resumption of UK-USA travel.

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