What Color is Your Cruise?

Is Your Cruise Ship Safe? How To Check Its COVID-19 Status

A real concern for people interested in booking a cruise is the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak once on board.  There have been some cruise ships with documented cases of the virus, despite the strict protocols and precautions in place.  There are ways to be informed about the specific cruise ship you are interested in booking.

Of the 24 ships currently sailing in U.S. waters, 15 have reported cases of the virus.

Because  COVID is so contagious, travel isn’t without risks. However, having current information can help travelers make better-informed decisions, while assessing their own risk by taking into account their own health status.

As I have written about before, there is a color-coded system developed by CDC which provides information about the COVID-19 status of cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters. Each ship is assigned a color status—green, orange, yellow, red or gray.

The color-coding for each ship is based on data from the previous 7-day period as well as the findings of any CDC investigations. To recap: Green: No COVID-19 cases or COVID-19-like illnesses are reported onboard; Orange: Reported cases are below the CDC threshold for investigation; Yellow: The ship meets the threshold for investigation (for crew or passenger COVID-19 cases); Red: The ship is at or above the threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases. Based on CDC investigation, the ship is subject to   immediate return to port or delay of the next voyage; Gray: The ship operator’s health and safety protocol hasn’t been reviewed or confirmed by the CDC; this only applies to ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida that chose not to follow the CDC Conditional Sail Order (CSO) voluntarily.

You can find the status of ships sailing in U.S. waters here:


Many cruisers feel very comfortable at sea.  As the Delta variant has emerged,  health and safety protocols have become even more stringent in terms of requirements for pre-cruise testing, vaccinations, and the use of masks. The safety measures and protocols in place on a cruises is much higher than for other modes of travel. The vaccination status of each passenger is known and tracked; each cruise ship has certain medical facilities and procedures for testing and dealing with COVID in place. However, anyone who is not fully vaccinated should avoid both river and ocean cruising worldwide for now.

Deciding to take a cruise during the pandemic is a very personal decision. For some, it may seem safe and worth the risk, but others with pre-existing health concerns or who really want to limit their exposure may want to postpone their departure. The CDC color code system offers information to aid in making this tough decision.

In my humble opinion, there are no gatherings of people that can be 100% safe and guarantee NO COVID.  I think that if a ship’s colors are good, a passenger’s health is good, canceling is not a guarantee that they won’t get Covid somewhere else (a party, to church, etc.) 

Enjoy life and create new memories!

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