Cruising is slowly coming back to the United States, and the subject of masks is something that has come up time and time again. Will all guests be required to wear masks? What about those that are vaccinated? Based on a combination of information from the CDC and popular cruise lines, we can get a sense of whether or not you will need to have a face covering with you on your tropical vacation this summer. Let’s take a look.
The CDC guidelines
As many of you already know, the CDC has been gradually loosening its strictness when it comes to rules for cruises this summer. The Conditional Sailing Order was recently updated to address the question of masks. For the most part, the CDC said that it was up to individual cruise lines to decide what their rules on masks would be. They said that “cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that they do not have to wear a mask or maintain physical distance in any areas.” An important caveat to note, though, is that this is true for cruise ships that reach the threshold of 95% of individuals vaccinated. If they do not reach that point, masks will still need to be used indoors – at least for now. That means that if you want to take a cruise without a mask, your best bet is to get vaccinated (or to get on a ship where almost everyone else is vaccinated).
Exceptions to the rules
While masks are still largely going to be required indoors on ships that don’t reach the 95% vaccinated level, it should be noted that the CDC does allow for some exceptions. If you are vaccinated, some of the rules do not need to apply to you. The CDC also said “that operators can establish certain sections of the ship that are only accessible to fully vaccinated passengers and crews where masks and physical distancing are not required.” That means that you will undoubtedly experience a more normal cruise if you are vaccinated.
Carnival decides against masks
Carnival made their opinion on masks known on June 9th when they announced that Carnival Vista would be sailing without a requirement for masks. This is made possible by the fact that they will be adhering to the 95% vaccinated policy suggested by the CDC. For those that aren’t too keen on wearing masks, this should come as good news, as it shows that cruise lines aren’t going to be enforcing mask rules on the majority of their sailings this summer.
We are all looking forward to the days where we can sail once again without worrying about these safety precautions, but we aren’t quite there yet. We expect to see these health guidelines evolve over the summer, so keep an eye out to see what changes if you are planning on hitting the seven seas soon.