Reference web sites available for up-to-date travel information on COVID-19 requirements by country and for CDC travel recommendations.
The first is the Internatinal Air Transport Association – IATA offers an up-to-date COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map HERE.
Additional information from the The American CDC – For international travelers the American CDC now provides a list of countries and the COVID-19 threat level for each HERE.
UPDATE JUNE 12
UPDATE JUNE 11
UPDATE JUNE 8
UPDATE APRIL 29
UPDATE APRIL 14
EU Announces It Will Open The Doors to Vaccinated Travelers this Summer
Great news for the international traveler! The EU is proposing to allow vaccinated travelers to visit member states as early as June, according to the Commission.
In a statement from the Commission they write, “The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine. This could be extended to vaccines having completed the WHO emergency use listing process. In addition, the Commission proposes to raise, in line with the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the EU, the threshold related to the number of new COVID-19 cases used to determine a list of countries from which all travel should be permitted. This should allow the Council to expand this list.”
Passengers Test Positive On Celebrity Ship As Sailing Protocols Are Tested
Two passengers from the United States on Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium have tested positive for COVID-19, the cruise line said in a statement on June 11th. The two passengers who shared a room on the ship had tests came back positive during end-of-cruise testing, which was completed 72 hours before returning to its home port of St. Maarten. All passengers were required to show proof of vaccination in addition to a negative COVID-19 test within a 72-hour period before the ship sailed from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten Saturday. Before entering St. Maarten, passengers had to fill out a form and provide a COVID-19 vaccination card. The ship was visiting Curaçao, and the two passengers who tested positive remained on board in isolation.
Royal Caribbean Cruises said Friday it isn’t changing its sailing plans this summer despite the two positive Covid-19 cases aboard the Celebrity Millennium on Thursday. The two guests who tested positive during end-of-cruise testing were asymptomatic and were placed in isolation after the positive test results. Royal Caribbean, the parent of Celebrity, announced that all those who were in close contact with the two guests have now tested negative for COVID. If anything this is an affirmation of the protocols adopted by the various cruise lines.
Royal Caribbean is already operating with two ships in Asia, the Quantum of the Seas and the Spectrum of the Seas, but is just now returning to the Caribbean waters. Now Adventure of the Seas has set sail on June 5th from Nassau, Bahamas. The cruises will be stopping in Perfect Day at CocoCay, Grand Bahama Island, and Cozumel, Mexico for now.
Boarding Requirements, Royal Caribbean will mandate vaccinations for all passengers and crew above the age of 18. Unvaccinated children will need a negative COVID test within the last 72 hours in order to board.
On its cruises out of Singapore, Royal Caribbean currently mandates mask-wearing in public spaces and daily symptom/temperature checks. This is expected to change soon with the advent of vaccines.
Newly Scheduled Departures
Celebrity Millennium sailings resumed on June 5 from St. Maarten; Celebrity Summit will take over this itinerary on July 3
Celebrity Apex sailings resume on June 19 from Athens, Greece
Carnival Vista sailings resume on July 3 from Galveston, TX
Carnival Breeze sailings resume on July 15 from Galveston, TX
Carnival Miracle sailings resume on July 27 from Seattle
Celebrity Edge sailings resume on June 26 from Fort Lauderdale
Celebrity Millennium sailings resume on July 23 from Seattle
Disney Wonder sailings will resume on or after July 12, 2021
Norwegian Jade sailings resume on July 25, 2021 from Athens, Greece
Norwegian Encore sailings resume on August 7 from Seattle
Norwegian Gem sailings resume on August 15 from Miami
Norwegian Breakaway sailings resume on September 26 from New York
Norwegian Bliss sailings resume on October 24 from Los Angeles
Norwegian Escape sailings resume on November 13 from Port Canaveral
Majestic Princess sailings resume on July 25 from Seattle
The CDC Resistance To Cruising Begins To Crack – Under pressure from lawsuits by two states, Florida and Alaska and cruise industry threats to move home ports out of the United States, the CDC has now announced by a letter sent to the cruise industry that cruising from U.S. ports could resume by mid-July..
Exactly when this will happen will depend on the cruise lines’ ability to get ships ready for service and their willingness to comply with the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO’s).
“We acknowledge that cruising will never be a zero-risk activity and that the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard cruise ships and across port communities,” wrote Aimee Treffiletti, head of the Maritime Unit for CDC’s COVID-19 response. “We remain committed to the resumption of passenger operations in the United States following the requirements in the CSO by mid-summer, which aligns with the goals announced by many major cruise lines.”
After the early April guidance release from the CDC led to a furious backlash from the cruise lines a series a talks to try to agree to a timeline for the resumption were scheduled. In its letter this week, the CDC reiterated mid-July was a possibility and released five clarifications for the CSO, specifically around the Phase 2 technical instructions issued April 2.
Now ships can skip the test voyages carrying volunteers and resume sailings with fare-paying passengers provided 98 percent of crew and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated. This replaces previous guidance that required test cruising for all ships leaving from U.S. ports.
For cruise ships that aren’t committing to that vaccination requirement, test cruises will be required. But now the CDC has agreed to review and respond to applications from cruise lines for simulated voyages within five days rather than 60 days, as originally specified.
CDC will update its testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew on sailings with paying passengers to align with its own guidance for fully vaccinated people. For example, fully vaccinated people will now be able to take a rapid antigen COVID-19 test before embarkation, as opposed to a PCR test. The CDC has also clarified that cruise ships may enter into a “multiport agreement” rather than a single port agreement as long as all port and local authorities sign off on the agreement.
The CDC has further clarified guidance on quarantines for passengers who might have been exposed to or contracted COVID-19. In those cases local passengers may to drive home, while passengers who have traveled by air to other cruise may still be quarantine in a hotel.
The CDC and the cruise industry have been at odds about the resumption of sailing for a year, with the CDC coming under increasing pressure to allow for the safe resumption of cruising from states, citizens, cruise companies and travel professionals.
Florida Files Lawsuit Against CDC April 8 – Gov. Ron DeSantis announced today that Florida has filed a lawsuit against the federal government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end the halt on cruise industry operations.
Cruise ships were prevented from leaving ports with passengers by a no-sail order issued by the CDC more than a year ago. That order was replaced with the agency’s “conditional sail order” published in October that requires cruise lines to abide by CDC-instituted phases for a return to cruising but hasn’t allowed them to resume sailing yet.
Senators Introduce Legislation To Override the CDC -Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Dan Sullivan of Alaska introduced legislation Tuesday aiming to override the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s restrictions on cruising in U.S. waters,and allow ships to sail byJuly after the industry has been shut down longer than a year.
“Unlike the airlines, rail and other modes of transportation – and all other sectors of the hospitality industry for that matter – the cruise lines have been denied clear direction from the CDC on how to resume operations,” Sullivan said in an announcement.
Carnival President Christine Duffy Addresses CDC and Sailings – In a lengthy interview with the hosts of a Florida-based morning show, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy addressed a wide range of issues relating to the resumption of sailings out of U.S. ports.
Duffy appeared on the This Week in South Florida broadcast to reiterate the importance of cruising being allowed to resume from ports such as those in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Port Canaveral and Jacksonville. When asked if she believed the Centers for Disease Control was dragging its feet, the exec stopped just short of saying that was the case.
“Right now,” she said, “the conditional sail order does not reflect vaccines, and there’s also a great deal of information [on how we proceed] that has not yet been communicated to the cruise lines from what will be required for test cruises [to] what kind of testing may be required. So we really just don’t have the details or transparency or engagement with the CDC that we need to begin sailing by this summer, which is such an important season for the cruise industry and or vacationers.”
She also repeated what has become something of a battle cry among those fighting to have the ban on sailing lifted: “The cruise industry, as far as we know, is the only industry that has not been able to operate for more than a year”.