U.S. CDC’s role in helping cruise ship travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic
For Returning Cruise Ship 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 (6 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.
Your cruise line is responsible for your medical care. If you require emergency medical attention, your cruise line will coordinate with public health and U.S. Coast Guard and, if necessary, arrange for appropriate transportation to a place where you can get attention.
For Cruise Ship Companies
Cruise lines are responsible for treating all ill or infected patients, including those who need hospitalization.
For travelers who need emergency medical attention, cruise lines should coordinate with public health and U.S. Coast Guard to arrange for appropriate transportation to a place where such care can occur.
Cruise lines must arrange for disembarking travelers with no symptoms or mild symptoms to return directly to their residence by chartered or private transportation that can be properly sanitized.
Commercial flights and other public transportation may not be used.
Travelers with mild symptoms may return home alone or with other symptomatic travelers by charter flight, air ambulance, ground ambulance or other private vehicle that can be properly sanitized.
Cabin mates with no symptoms may accompany ill travelers if they provide written consent to the cruise line ahead of time.
Well travelers with no symptoms may return home alone or with other well travelers by charter flight or other private vehicle that can be properly sanitized.
Cruise ship companies should provide to all travelers, including crew, a procedural/surgical mask, cloth face covering, or non-medical mask such as a bandanna, and ask them to wear it during:
- ship disembarkation,
transport to any flights,
the duration of the flight(s), and
any ground transportation until they reach their final destination.
Before attempting to repatriate travelers by international charter flight to the United States
Before chartering flights back to the United States, cruise lines should:
- Screen all US-bound passengers or crew who will board the US charter flight for fever (100.4° F or 38° C or higher) or feeling feverish or new or worsening cough, or shortness of breath. Symptomatic passengers should not board a charter flight with well passengers.
Notify CDC about any passengers with COVID-19 symptoms, including confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.
Obtain full approval from state and local authorities before planning for the arrival of passengers in the state where the charter flight is bound.
Distribute general CDC COVID-19 health informationpdf icon to cruise ship passengers eligible to board a US-bound flight. Advise passengers to stay home, monitor their health, and practice social distancing for 14 days after they arrive in the United States.
Ensure the air carrier has stocked sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for the flight crew.
For public health officials
It is required that flights report to CDC any illnesses and deaths on domestic flights between US states and territories and on international flights arriving in the United States. If illnesses or deaths were reported on the flight, local airport responders will coordinate with the CDC Quarantine Station of jurisdiction to ensure safe assessment of the affected traveler.
CDC may notify some states through Epi-X about sick passengers on flights under some circumstances.