Ship sail

CDC stops reporting COVID cases on cruise ships

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s program that tracks COVID-19 cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters “is no longer in effect,” according to a CDC website update.

Why is this important: The CDC COVID-19 program for cruise ships, which became voluntary last January, publicly posted data on the number of cases of the virus reported on ships. Its end allows cruise lines to create their own COVID protocols.

The big picture: Cruise ships were the epicenter of early COVID outbreaks, but businesses implemented measures to counter the virus as the pandemic continued — and the CDC said that was a major reason to end on the dashboard on Monday.

Driving the news: CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said in A declaration to news outlets that the agency “has determined that the cruise industry has access to the necessary tools (for example, cruise-specific recommendations and advice, vaccinations, testing instruments, treatment modalities, and non-pharmaceutical interventions) to prevent and mitigate” on-board overcrowding.

  • “Going forward, the CDC will continue to issue cruise-specific guidance so that cruise ships can continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for crew, passengers, and communities,” Nordlund said.
  • “Individual cruise lines will determine their own specific COVID-19 related requirements for cruise travel, as well as safety measures and protocols for passengers traveling on board based on CDC recommendations to reduce the risk of COVID-19. 19,” she added.

“While cruising poses some risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers can make their own risk assessment when choosing to cruise, much like they do in other settings,”

– Excerpt from CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund Press release

What they say : A spokesperson for the Cruise Line International Association, the industry’s largest trade organization, said USA today the end of the program was “an important step forward for the CDC in aligning the guidelines for cruises with those it has established for other travel, hospitality, and entertainment industries.”

  • “We look forward to reviewing the details, which we believe will be posted on the CDC’s website in the coming days,” the spokesperson said.