CDC Urges Americans to Avoid Cruise Ships Amid Surges in Omicron

“The COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level has been updated from Level 3 to Level 4, the highest level,” the CDC wrote. “This reflects increases in cases onboard cruise ships since identification of the Omicron variant […] The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.”

For those who are choosing to keep their cruise plans, the CDC recommends they get fully vaccinated—if they’ve yet to do so—and receive their booster if eligible before their trip. The agency also requests travelers to get tested 1–3 days before departure and 3–5 days after they return, “regardless of vaccination status or symptoms.”

Brian Salerno, the senior vice president for Maritime Policy at the Cruise Lines International Association, told CNBC the group wasn’t pleased with the recommendations, insisting cruise ships have implemented protocols to curb the spread of the disease.

“We’re obviously disappointed at the CDC’s decision to raise the travel level for cruise today,” he said, “especially given the overwhelming level of effectiveness of cruise protocols that are resulting in significantly lower level of cases on cruise as compared to land.”


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