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.

Related articles

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.

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.

UK and Ireland

UK cruises enjoyed a renaissance in summer 2020 thanks to Covid-enforced travel restrictions and,…

Read more

Northern Europe

When most people think of travelling to Europe, they immediately think of countries such as Italy,…

Read more

Western Mediterranean and Atlantic

Western Mediterranean cruise holidays take passengers to three of the world’s most popular getaway…

Read more

Eastern Mediterranean

There’s no cruise destination quite like the Mediterranean. Nowhere else in the world allows you to…

Read more


Africa cruises whisk travellers off to a vast, beautiful and diverse continent. It has been…

Read more


Caribbean cruises are hugely popular and are an excellent way to explore this incredibly diverse…

Read more


Alaska cruise holidays take passengers up close to vast forests, national parks the size of nations…

Read more

Far East

Rich culture, stunning landscapes, outstanding beaches, and flavoursome cuisine – nothing comes…

Read more

North America

North America cruises offer a diverse range of experiences. Whether you’re dreaming of the bustling…

Read more


Aboard an Antarctica cruise, discover a glacial world of glistening icebergs and frosty mountain…

Read more

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.

USA cruises: The country is currently on the UK's amber list. Credit: Shutterstock
Related articles

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.

Iconic ports

Antigua and Barbuda

Alluring Antigua is the main island in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. If heaven were…

Read more


Located between the depths of the North Atlantic and Florida's eastern coast, the Bahamas – not…

Read more


Step on the sandy, palm-fringed shores of Barbados and feel your troubles melt away – as you…

Read more