The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its technical guidance for test cruises and initial cruises with paying passengers.
The new guidance applies to simulated and restricted sailings under the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order.
The public health agency’s revised Operations Manual now says that passengers who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated do not have to be tested for COVID-19 upon embarkation even if they had a known close contact in the past 14 days.
The CDC also eliminated embarkation day testing for vaccinated passengers who are staying onboard for back-to-back cruises.
Even vaccinated passengers who are displaying symptoms will be able to sail at the cruise line’s discretion, provided there are testing and infection control measures in place for other common infections, such as the flu.
Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley posted on Facebook that the latest updates: “All reflect the significant progress made with the vaccines. Reading the updates last night and this morning gives me increased optimism.”