Ship sail

CDC ends cruise ship COVID-19 program

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has terminated its COVID-19 program for cruise ships, as cruise lines use their own mitigation programs.

The CDC’s COVID-19 cruise ship program has been a feature of the coronavirus pandemic after many of the initial high-profile outbreaks occurred aboard ships.

The CDC’s “no-sail order” for cruise ships, launched in March 2020, caused a 15-month shutdown in the industry as other forms of passenger travel remained open to the public. The no sail order was extended multiple times before the CDC finally issued a conditional sail order that allowed cruise ships to resume passenger operations in June 2021 with health and safety protocols strict in place. Since then, the CDC’s cruise ship program has been slowly scaled back, moving to a voluntary program beginning in January 2022.

The program used a color-coding system published by the CDC to help classify transmission levels on individual ships. As of July 18, the program has ceased and the color coding system web page has been removed.

The CDC says that although the program has ended, it will continue to provide testing recommendations to cruise ship operators and cruise ships will continue to report cases of COVID-19 to the CDC.

“The CDC has worked closely with the cruise industry, state, territorial and local health authorities, as well as federal and port partners to provide a safer and healthier environment for cruise passengers and crew,” said stated the CDC in an FAQ. “While cruising poses some risk of transmission of COVID-19, the CDC will continue to issue guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for crew, passengers and communities. in the future.”