New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance includes a COVID-19 program for cruise lines that would give each ship a color status indicating the percentage of those on board who are vaccinated.

The CDC announced the new COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships on Thursday, giving cruise lines the choice to opt in to the program by Feb. 18. The program comes nearly a month after the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order expired.

“CDC’s color-coding system gives travelers information they can use to make informed decisions before choosing to travel,” the CDC stated. “Color status designations indicate the number of COVID-19 cases reported for each ship in the program, whether an investigation is needed, additional public health measures a ship is taking, and whether a ship has opted out of the program.”

Under the new program, participating cruise ships with at least 95% of those on board who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines will receive a “vaccination standard of excellence.” Ships with less than 95% of fully vaccinated passengers and crew members will be classified as “not highly vaccinated.”

The status will be listed on the CDC’s Cruise Ship Color Status webpage. The color statuses will also dictate testing, masking, quarantine, and isolation protocols.

Any cruise line ships opting out of the program will be designated as “Gray,” indicating the CDC cannot review or confirm COVID-19 public health measures being taken aboard that ship.

The program will require participating cruise ships to follow all CDC guidance: “They will not be able to pick and choose which recommendations they follow.”

The CDC is currently advising against cruise ship travel.

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