The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines for cruise lines in the time of coronavirus (COVID-19), recommending that cruise travelers with no or mild symptoms disembark as quickly and safely as possible at U.S. ports of entry.
As of April 4, CDC says that cruise lines must be responsible for transporting passengers directly to their homes via chartered or private transportation as commercial flights and public transportation can’t be used.
For disembarking cruise ship passengers who feel well, CDC recommends requesting a face mask or cloth face covering from their cruise line and keeping their face covered from the time they leave their cabin to the time they arrive home. “To the extent possible, do not remove the face covering until you get to your final destination,” CDC said.
“CDC realizes that it might be confusing for travelers when recommendations change during the COVID-19 pandemic response. The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and globally is constantly changing. We will continue to evaluate and update our recommendations for returning cruise ship travelers as the situation evolves,” the agency said.
According to CDC, cruise lines are responsible for transporting all ill or infected patients and communicating with the CDC Quarantine Station along with state and local health departments as well as arranging chartered or private transportation that can be properly sanitized for disembarking travelers.
Cruise companies are also advised to provide procedural/surgical masks, cloth face coverings or non-medical masks such as a bandanna to all passengers and crew and have them wear it during disembarkation; transport to and during flights and during ground transportation to their final destination.
“This will, unfortunately, result in further delays in disembarkation and onward travel for many guests as we work through this complex, challenging and unfortunate situation,” Princess Cruises said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We express continued gratitude to our guests for their patience and understanding as we work to adapt to these new requirements.”
Cruise lines around the world have extended temporary suspensions of operations into May amid unprecedented travel restrictions and slumping demand. Nonetheless, some unfortunate passengers remain stranded at sea as local governments turn them away.
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