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Is it safe to go on a cruise?

A cruise liner at night
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Cruise vacations are available again: sail safely with our tips

A sea voyage on a cruise ship is one of life’s great pleasures. Now that the world is opening up, you might be thinking of a cruise vacation. But how do you decide if you feel safe on a cruise liner?

Before booking, take time to discover what cruising is like in a post-pandemic world: it may be a little different to how you remember!

Am I at increased risk from covid if I go on a cruise?

Infectious diseases spread rapidly on board cruise ships. If you are at high risk of getting seriously ill from covid, a cruise vacation may not be for you. If you cannot be vaccinated against covid, travel is possible, but there may be extra testing requirements. Remember that you can still catch covid if you have been vaccinated.

Wearing a mask is recommended on board cruise liners

Tolerance for masks and attitudes toward the wearing of face coverings varies. On board a cruise ship it is likely that you’ll encounter passengers who have different attitudes to mask wearing.

The US State Department recommends that cruise ship passengers wear masks in shared spaces. If your cruise company is not of US origin, they may have different rules, however. So ask at time of booking what the on-board masking guidance is, and how it is enforced.

Ask yourself if you are comfortable with the expected level of mask wearing. If not, look for another cruise company.

Get your pre-cruise shots

As mentioned above, infectious diseases spread rapidly aboard a cruise ship. Bear in mind that even though the world has changed in many ways, you can still get ill from vaccine-preventable diseases such as hepatitis A and meningococcal meningitis, and you can still be exposed to yellow fever if you go on a port excursion. So book a pre-travel risk assessment with Global Travel Clinics. Bring the itinerary for your cruise so that the health adviser can check what pathogens you are likely to encounter. They will recommend vaccines and give advice on avoiding exposure to traveler’s illnesses.

Do you need a covid test before your cruise?

At time of writing, to board cruise ships that depart from the US, you will need proof of a negative pre-departure covid 19 test result. This has to be professionally administered or observed.

People who are up to date with the covid shots can use a negative viral covid-19 test result from no more than three days before boarding.

People who are not vaccinated must get tested with a viral test no more than two days before boarding. They will also need a test on embarkation day.

The CDC also recommends that you get tested three to five days after your cruise. This is to confirm that you have not caught covid while on vacation.

Check the CDC and the Department of State regularly during the run-up to your cruise so you can confirm the guidance has not changed.

Where can I get a 15-minute covid test near me?

There are many places to get tested for covid-19. Global Travel Clinics offers professionally administered and observed 15-minute covid-19 testing with proof of result for travelers in towns and cities across the US. To book a pre-travel covid test for your cruise, see our clinics page. We can also offer a video-supervised rapid antigen covid test, too. This may be useful if you live in a remote area and need a covid test, or if you need a professionally observed covid test for your return to the US after vacation.

Where can I learn more about safe cruise ship travel?

To find out more about cruising safely, see The CDC’s page about cruise ship travel during covid-19.

The US Department of State also has guidance for cruise ship passengers.

Check our advice for staying healthy on your cruise in this article.


How much medication should I take for a trip abroad?

When you go abroad on vacation, you’ll want to take enough of the meds that you usually take to cover your entire time away, plus a few days’ extra in case you are delayed. Bring copies of your prescriptions in case there are any queries at the border.

Photo by Jamie Morrison on Unsplash