The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updates to its ongoing health and safety program for cruise ships operating in U.S. waters on Thursday.
The agency announced that it will reduce the percentage threshold requirement for determining "highly vaccinated voyages" from 95 percent to 90 percent of eligible passengers or those aged five and older. However, the crew vaccination percentage must remain at 95 percent or greater to be considered a highly vaccinated voyage.
Additionally, the CDC revealed that isolation rooms no longer need to have negative pressure. They must still be located in predesignated areas and the exception to transferring individuals to predesignated cabins if within 36 hours of disembarkation remains in effect.
"The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its member cruise lines welcome the recent update to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in U.S. Waters," CLIA said in a statement on Thursday.
"The CDC's adjustment of vaccination and quarantine and isolation room requirements recognizes the highly protective measures in place onboard cruise ships and is in keeping with the CDC's lifting of any travel-related advisory against cruising. CLIA-member cruise lines continue to provide one of the highest levels of COVID-19 mitigation for the traveling public with higher-vaccination rates and higher frequency of testing than most any other setting.
"We look forward to the further development of the program to bring greater alignment across the travel and tourism sector," CLIA concluded.
Thursday's changes come on the heels of other positive updates from the CDC that bode well for the cruise industry.
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