CDC advises people to avoid cruising, even if they're vaccinated

The CDC has changed the Covid-19 status for cruise ship travel from Level 3 to Level 4, which means it is recommending that people avoid cruising regardless of vaccination status.

“Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants,” the CDC said. “The virus that causes Covid-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters onboard 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.”

The CDC noted that outbreaks of Covid-19 have been reported on cruise ships. On Dec. 30, the CDC had designated 91 cruise ships as yellow in its color status tracker. Yellow means reported cases of Covid-19 have met the threshold for CDC investigation. 

CLIA called the CDC’s move “perplexing.” The organization said it was “disappointed and disagreed with the decision to single out the cruise industry.”

“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,” CLIA said.

U.S. Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes said U.S. Travel hopes the CDC’s advisory is brief.

“Advising travelers to avoid cruise travel regardless of vaccination status is akin to a travel ban that seems counterintuitive to the administration’s lifting of the travel ban on South Africa and surrounding countries, which takes effect tomorrow,” Barnes said in a statement.  

“Science-backed safety protocols are allowing live events, professional gatherings of all sizes, and other forms of travel to safely continue, and the CDC is seemingly not accounting for the cruise industry’s stringent safety measures, testing practices, and high vaccination levels that far exceed the general population.”

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