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CDC urges all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to avoid cruising

Dec. 30, 2021
3 min read
High Angle View Of Cruise Ships Moored In Sea Against Blue Sky
CDC urges all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to avoid cruising
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that travelers avoid cruising, as the agency raises its travel health notice to the highest level on Thursday.

The CDC urges that all travelers avoid cruise travel, reflecting the increase in COVID-19 cases onboard cruise ships due to the omicron variant. In recent days, there's been a meteoric rise in positive cases identified both on cruise ships and on land across the U.S.

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According to the agency, even those who've been fully vaccinated and boosted should reconsider cruising. The tight quarters on cruise ships increase the risk of spreading COVID-19, it said.

Before Thursday, the CDC had ranked cruising as a level three on its scale from one to four.

The cruise and travel industry reacted forcefully to the news, particularly as the industry has tried to rebound from a difficult few years.

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"The decision by the CDC to raise the travel level for cruise is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard—far fewer than on land—and the majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or onshore," Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement to TPG.

The U.S. Travel Association, an organization representing the travel industry, said it hoped the advisory would be "brief and temporary."

"Advising travelers to ‘avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status’ is akin to a travel ban that seems counter-intuitive to the Administration’s lifting of the travel ban on South Africa and surrounding countries," executive vice president Tori Emerson Barnes said in a statement.

In addition to cruising, many nations worldwide also hold level four travel warnings from the CDC.

The move comes as the number of COVID-19 cases on cruise ships has risen during the holiday season. Some ships have been forced to adjust their ports of call during travel, with some scrapping plans for multiple days at sea.

If you do decide to cruise, the CDC recommends getting tested both before and after your trip, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms.

Those who aren't vaccinated are recommended to self-quarantine for five days after cruise travel.

Featured image by Getty Images/EyeEm
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