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CDC recommends certain travelers avoid cruise ships, even if fully vaccinated

Aug. 21, 2021
4 min read
Freedom of the Seas
CDC recommends certain travelers avoid cruise ships, even if fully vaccinated
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On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for COVID-19 and cruise ship travel. The organization now recommends that "people with an increased risk of severe illness should also avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, regardless of vaccination status."

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Before this update, the CDC recommended that "people who are not fully vaccinated avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide."

The CDC statement goes on to explain that "older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill if they get COVID-19. People with weakened immune systems, including people who take medicines that suppress their immune systems, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated."

Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras ship docked in San Juan (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

After all, the CDC guidance for COVID-19 and cruise ship travel states that "the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high. Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships." So, if you or a travel companion has an increased risk of severe illness, it may be prudent to reschedule any upcoming cruise plans.

Related: Delta variant is on the rise — Here’s what to do if you need to cancel your trip

Since the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high, the CDC encourages travelers to test one to three days before cruising and three to five days after disembarking, even if fully vaccinated. Of course, if you test positive, you should isolate and not travel.

If you aren't fully vaccinated, the CDC says you should self-quarantine for seven days after cruise travel even if you test negative (or 10 days after cruise travel if you don't test) and avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days.

Related: Is it safe to travel as the delta variant spreads? Here’s what the experts say

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If you cruise, use the hand sanitizer stations or wash your hands often. (Photo by Gene Sloan/The Points Guy)

The CDC recommends that people on cruise ships "wear a mask to keep their nose and mouth covered when in shared spaces." But since the CDC’s mask order isn't enforced on cruise ships, mask policies differ across cruise lines. As such, the CDC provides the following onboard guidance if you decide to cruise during the pandemic:

  • Stay at least six feet from anyone who is not traveling with you. Do this everywhere -- both indoors and outdoors -- if you are not fully vaccinated.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay in your cabin and notify the onboard medical center immediately.

Of course, if you plan to return to the U.S. by air after an international cruise, you'll need to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before travel or provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months. And, consider the possibility that you may test positive and need to recover and quarantine abroad.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by Freedom of the Seas docked at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private island, which has the tallest water slide in North America (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023