CDC Advises Against Cruise Travel

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised its COVID-19 Travel Health Notice Level for cruise travel from Level 3 to Level 4 – the highest level – reflecting increases in cases onboard cruise ships since the Omicron variant was identified.

In its update, the CDC is advising travellers to ‘avoid cruise travel regardless of vaccination status.”

The CDC notes in its updated notice that even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.

It also states that 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.

Since the identification of the Omicron variant, there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among cruise passengers and crew reported to CDC. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of cruise ships meeting the COVID-19 case threshold for CDC investigation (i.e., Yellow status on the Cruise Ship Color Status webpage).

CDC has temporarily extended the CSO through Jan. 15, 2022, with minor modifications. The CSO, as modified, applies to foreign-flagged cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in U.S. waters. U.S.-flagged cruise ships previously covered by the CSO may continue to participate voluntarily. Passenger operations have now resumed on cruise ships. As modified, the CSO aligns with current public health considerations and other factors onboard cruise ships. Information about the COVID-19 status of ships sailing under the CSO is available on CDC’s website.

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