Just Don't Take a Cruise, CDC Advises

Warning applies regardless of the traveler's vaccination status
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2021 5:25 PM CST
CDC Warns Against Cruises at Any Vaccination Level
Cruise ships at PortMiami in April 2020 in Miami.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

In response to a series of onboard outbreaks, the CDC on Thursday advised all Americans—vaccinated or not—to stay off cruise ships. The agency cited a rise in coronavirus infections and the quick-spreading omicron variant, per NBC News. COVID-19 "spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships," the CDC said, "and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high." The change takes the travel health notice from level 3 to level 4. More than 90 cruise ships are under investigation or observation by the CDC, per the AP.

Cruise lines were displeased. The Cruise Lines International Association said it was "perplexed" by the CDC advice guidance and complained about "the decision to single out the cruise industry." In a statement, the group said, "No setting can be immune from this virus—however, it is also the case that cruises provides one of the highest levels of demonstrated mitigation against the virus." Before the CDC announcement, the Royal Caribbean Group said in a statement that omicron is causing "significantly less severe symptoms than earlier variants." For those who do take a cruise, the CDC advises:

  • Get vaccinated before going, including boosters if eligible.
  • Wear a mask in common areas aboard ship.
  • Take a coronavirus test one to three days before departure and three to five days after the trip. This applies regardless of any symptoms or vaccination status.
"It is especially important that travelers who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, regardless of vaccination status," the CDC said, per CNBC. (More cruise lines stories.)

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