Fully-vaccinated cruise passengers do not have to wear a mask outdoors, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ruled.

The updated cruise framework also explained that masks would not have to be worn during at meal times or when drinking.

However, face coverings must always be worn in “crowded settings” regardless of whether the passenger is outdoors or not.

CDC, May 2021

CDC updated the cruise framework on its website

The CDC also said passengers could explore ports of call independently, outside a cruise line’s official shore excursion group, provided masks were worn indoors.

Both updates have given encouragement to the US cruise market.

According to reports, Royal Caribbean International has told passengers they will not be required to wear a face covering at the line’s private island Perfect Day at CocoCay.

On face coverings, the CDC said: “Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that – if they are fully vaccinated – they may gather or conduct activities outdoors, including engaging in extended meal service or beverage consumption, without wearing a mask except in crowded settings.”

On shore excursions, the guidelines said: “Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that – if they are fully vaccinated – they may engage in self-guided or independent exploration during port stops, if they wear a mask while indoors.”