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CDC warning: 'Avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status'

The change reflects the increases in COVID cases onboard cruise ships since the development of the omicron variant.
Credit: KHOU
Carnival Cruises Freedom COVID Cases

HOUSTON — Avoid cruises, regardless of vaccination status. That’s new guidance just out from the Centers for Disease Control

On Thursday, the CDC raised it’s alert to the highest level. They say that even fully vaccinated travelers could be at risk for infection and spread of COVID.  

The guidance comes after dozens of reports of COVID-19 outbreaks on ships.

They say if you do decide to take a cruise, you should get tested one to three days before the trip and three to five days after, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms. They also recommend that you are fully vaccinated and get a booster if eligible. 

And if you’re on a ship, they say you should wear a mask in shared spaces.

More cruise ships under CDC investigation due to COVID cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating more cruise ships due to new COVID-19 cases aboard. 

As of Wednesday, the agency said 88 vessels are now either under investigation or observation, but it does not specify how many cases have been reported. 

None of the ships appear to have so many cases they would overwhelm medical resources on board and require a return to port. But some have been denied entry at some foreign ports. 

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal is calling for the CDC and cruise lines to again halt cruise travel, six months after the industry mounted its comeback.

Key information for cruise ship travelers

Under Level 4, here is verbatim what the CDC recommends:

  • Avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.
  • 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.
  • Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.
  • If you travel on a cruise ship, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel and get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if you are eligible.
  • People who go on a cruise should get tested 1–3 days before their trip and 3–5 days after their trip, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms.
  • Along with testing, passengers who are not fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for a full 5 days after cruise travel.
  • People on cruise ships should wear a mask to keep their nose and mouth covered when in shared spaces. While CDC is 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 subject to the Temporary Extension & Modification of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), including onboard cruise ships choosing to follow the requirements of the CSO on a voluntary basis, individual cruise lines may require travelers (passengers and crew) to wear masks on board the ship.

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