CDC Lowers Warning for Cruise Ship Travel
Yesterday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lowered the COVID-19 warning level for cruise ship travel to a ‘Level 3: High’ status. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, this ranking has been listed as ‘Level 4: Very High’. In addition to this update, the CDC also touched on new guidelines for unvaccinated cruise travelers.
The key points of these new recommendations from the CDC for cruise travelers who are not vaccinated include the following:
- The CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. The organization stresses it is especially important that individuals who are not fully vaccinated with an increased risk of severe illness avoid cruise travel. The rationale they provide for this guideline states, “Cruise passengers who are not fully vaccinated are more likely to get COVID-19, which spreads person-to-person, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.”
- People who decide to go on a cruise (vaccinated and unvaccinated) should get tested 1–3 days before their trip and 3–5 days after their trip.
- In addition to testing, the organization recommends passengers who are not fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for 7 days after cruise travel, even if they test negative. If they do not get tested, they should self-quarantine for 10 days after cruise travel. They also recommend those who are not fully vaccinated avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days following a cruise, whether tested or not.
The CDC’s announcement states that it has “released all of the necessary requirements and recommendations that cruise ship operators need to resume passenger operations under the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO).” Over the past few weeks many announcements have been made by most major cruise lines receiving approvals from the CDC for simulated sailings or restricted passenger sailings.
The first passenger cruise from the U.S. will take place on June 26 when Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge departs from Port Everglades for a 7-night Caribbean itinerary. Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises have all been issued approvals for simulated sailings on select ships. Under the CSO, these test sailings are part of the approval process for cruise lines to sail without a 95% passenger vaccination requirement.
Read the CDC’s full notice for COVID-19 and cruise ship travel here.