CDC recommends travelers avoid cruise ships amid COVID-19 increase

If you have a cruise planned, or thinking about taking a cruise vacation, you will need to know the new recommending guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC released new guidance Thursday recommending individuals – regardless of their vaccination status – refrain from embarking on cruise ships.

The new guidance comes after the CDC said there has been an uptick in COVID-19 outbreaks reported onboard cruise ships.

The U.S. government shut down cruise ship travel at the start of the pandemic in spring 2020. Cruise ship travel resumed in June 2021 as COVID-19 cases declined with the arrival of the vaccine.

“The COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level has been updated from Level 3 to Level 4, the highest level,” the CDC said in its Thursday guidance, citing increased “cases onboard cruise ships since identification of the Omicron variant.”

For individuals who still decide to embark on a cruise ship, the CDC recommends masks be worn in accordance with its voluntary Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) for cruise ships.

The CDC said it would be “exercising its enforcement discretion under CDC’s Mask Order to not require that persons wear a mask under certain circumstances on board foreign-flagged cruise ships,” which includes cruise ships choosing to let passengers follow the CDC’s masking recommendations on a voluntary basis.

Regardless of vaccination status and symptoms, the CDC recommends those who decide to embark on a cruise ship get tested 1-3 days before the trip, and 3-5 days after the trip.

For unvaccinated passengers, the CDC recommends individuals get tested and self-quarantine for a full 5-days after ending cruise travel. The guidance did not indicate whether quarantining was necessary for unvaccinated cruise passengers who test negative following the end of their travel.


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