The USA's agency CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) ended its COVID Program (for reporting Coronavirus outbreaks on cruise vessels) on Monday, July 18.
The agency's website read that CDC had "worked closely with the cruise industry, state, territorial, and local health authorities, and federal and seaport partners to provide a safer and healthier environment for cruise passengers and crew."
"Cruise ships have access to guidance and tools to manage their own COVID-19 mitigation programs."
The CDC adds that "while cruising poses some risk of COVID-19 transmission, CDC will continue to publish guidance to help cruise ships continue to provide a safer and healthier environment for crew, passengers, and communities going forward."
The CDC transitioned to a voluntary program for COVID mitigation cruise ships earlier in 2022, which offered recommendations on safety measures, such as testing and vaccination. Cruise companies that opted into the program agreed to follow the recommendations.
The CDC said it will keep giving COVID testing recommendations for cruise operators, and that ships will keep reporting cases to the agency. The change comes as occupancy levels on ships ramped back up, more than 2 years after the crisis shut the industry down.
The industry's largest trade organization, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) welcomed the end of the program "in favor of a set of guidelines for public health operations on cruise ships."
"We look forward to reviewing the details, which we understand will be posted on the CDC website in the coming days. This is an important step forward in the CDC aligning the guidelines for cruise with those it has established for other travel, hospitality, and entertainment sectors."