Jul 20, 2022 - Economy

CDC stops reporting cruise ship COVID cases

 The Insignia cruise ship owned by Oceania Cruises sails in the Hudson River past the skyline of Manhattan in New York City as it returns to port at sunrise on July 19.

A cruise ship sails in the Hudson River past midtown Manhattan on Tuesday. Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's program tracking COVID cases on cruise ships in the U.S. "is no longer in effect," per a CDC website update.

Why it matters: The COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships that became voluntary last January publicly displayed data on the number of reported virus cases aboard ships. Its end enables cruise lines to make their own COVID protocols.

The big picture: Cruise ships were an epicenter for early COVID outbreaks, but companies implemented measures to counter the virus as the pandemic continued. The CDC indicated this, along with scientific developments, was a major reason for ending the dashboard on Monday.

Driving the news: CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said in a statement to news outlets that the agency "has determined that the cruise industry has access to the necessary tools (e.g., cruise-specific recommendations and guidance, vaccinations, testing instruments, treatment modalities, and non-pharmaceutical interventions) to prevent and mitigate" on-board cases.

  • "Going forward, CDC will continue to publish cruise-specific guidance so 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 for reducing the risk of COVID-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's media statement

What they're saying: A spokesperson for Cruise Line International Association, the industry's largest trade organization, told USA Today the program's end was "an important step forward in the CDC aligning the guidelines for cruise with those it has established for other travel, hospitality, and entertainment sectors."

  • "We look forward to reviewing the details, which we understand will be posted on the CDC website in the coming days," the spokesperson said.
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