CDC: Vaccinated Passengers Don’t Need Disembarkation Testing for Voyages Less than 4 Days

For the past few weeks, we’ve been reading and re-reading a document put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the “COVID-19 Operations Manual for Simulated and Restricted Voyages under the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order”. The document is as long and arduous as the title makes it sound, so lucky for you, we’ve got all the breakdowns and bullet points you need to stay on top your next cruise vacation. 

When the document was first released, many were left scratching their heads over the COVID-19 testing requirements for those who were already fully vaccinated. Why would the CDC require testing, both pre and post-cruise, for people who have a slim to none chance of catching and spreading the virus?

Well, the CDC must have been listening to the concerns of cruise lines and passengers alike as they’ve updated their protocols in terms of testing for those with proof of vaccination. But be warned, there are still conditions. 

Testing of Embarking and Disembarking Passengers for Restricted Voyages

The CDC has waived pre and post-cruise testing for those who have proof of vaccination or proof of antibodies, except in the case of voyages of more than four nights. 

Here’s the helpful (🚨 sarcasm alert🚨) table the CDC has included in their Framework document: 

Why the four night stipulation? We have no idea. The CDC also recommends that international travelers arriving in the U.S. are tested 3-5 days after arrival, including those who are fully vaccinated. Back to back sailings referenced above are when passengers stay on board for two or more voyages consecutively. Considering a back to back voyage would be far more than four nights, we’re assuming those people would need to test upon disembarkation. 

Here’s a question for cruisers, do you think the CDC is making these stipulations as convoluted as possible in order to delay cruising as long as possible? We try not to delve into conspiracies but with states around the country ending mask mandates and other COVID-19 protocols, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why these requirements for cruise lines are so intensive. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!