As of April 4, the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) updated its recommendations in order to help American cruisers get home as safely and quickly as possible during the Coronavirus pandemic. The CDC said it was working with partners as part of the Unified Command, including Customs and Border Protection, Coast Guard, port authorities, state and local health departments, to respond to the illness outbreaks on cruise ships.
The CDC recommends that cruise tourists with no or mild symptoms disembark as safely and quickly as possible at US ports of entry. Cruise companies must get travellers directly to their homes through private or chartered transportation. Public transportation and commercial flights may not be used.
For returning cruise ship passengers, CDC recommends:
- Well Travelers
Before leaving your cabin to begin ship disembarkation, put on a face mask or cloth face covering issued to you by the cruise line. Keep the face covering on from the time you leave your cabin, during disembarkation and during all air and land travel. To the extent possible, do not remove the face covering until you get to your final destination.
You should only travel with other well travelers by chartered or private transportation. Do not board a commercial flight or other public transportation. While traveling, you should spread out if space allows (six feet apart from non-travel companions, if possible). Sit next to your cruise ship travel companion(s) if you’re traveling with someone.
If you develop symptoms during travel, notify the medical staff of your symptoms and continue to wear your cloth face covering. If you are on a chartered flight without medical staff, tell the CDC Quarantine Station staff as soon as you disembark the plane.
When you arrive at your final destination, you should stay home for 14 days and monitor your health.
- Travelers Who Are Ill
Before leaving your cabin, put on a face mask issued to you by the cruise line. Keep the mask on from the time you leave your cabin, during disembarkation and during all air and land travel. To the extent possible, do not remove the mask until you get to your final destination.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have confirmed COVID-19, do not travel with well travelers who have no symptoms. Cabin mates with no symptoms may accompany you if they provide written consent to the cruise line ahead of time.
If you are well enough to travel, you should only travel to your home by charter flight, air ambulance or ground ambulance, or another private vehicle that can be properly sanitized.
If you require urgent medical attention, your cruise line is responsible for arranging your transportation to a local hospital.
The CDC said cruise liners are often settings for outbreaks of infectious diseases due to the semi-enclosed environment and contact between passengers from many countries. COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships pose a risk for the rapid spread of disease beyond the sailing and aggressive efforts are required to contain the spread.
For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.