The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has now elevated its Cruise Ship Travel warning to “Very High,” the highest possible level. The warning is now on Level 4 and it’s recommended that all people avoid cruise ship travel globally.
CDC Cruise Travel Warning at Level 4
The cruise industry in the U.S. has been hit with an increased warning from the CDC to avoid all cruise travel. At the end of October, Cruise Hive reported that the CDC still advised against cruise ship travel and was at level 3, that level has now been raised to level 4 and the details have been updated.
So it’s now recommended that “all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high.” The CDC also says that cruise passengers are at increased risk of getting infected with the virus and that outbreaks have been reported on cruise ships.
It’s also advised that passengers who do decide to go on a cruise should get tested after their voyage and stay at home for seven days even if it’s a negative result. Here are the main key points from the CDC:
It is important to know that the CDC announced a new Level system and mentioned the following in a press release:
This new 4-level travel health notice system is specific to COVID-19 and details the level of COVID-19 in international destinations and U.S. territories. The COVID-19 Travel Health Notices now indicate low, moderate, high, and very high levels of COVID-19 for each destination and are based primarily on incidence rate (or new case counts in destinations with populations of 200,000 or less) and trajectory of new cases (whether new cases over the past 28 days are increasing, decreasing, or stable).
The Impact on Cruises
At the moment there are no cruise ships operating out of the U.S. The CDC currently has the Conditional Sailing Order in place and cruise lines need time to make sure the framework on the order that was announced on October 30, 2020 is followed.
Even though the CDC Cruise Ship Travel warning has been raised it won’t really have much of an impact until cruises do eventually resume. Major cruise lines such as Carnival have already suspended operations well into 2021 and by then the situation might be a lot more positive. Even sister cruise lines Princess Cruises and Holland America Line have suspended operation into Spring 2021.
Why the Cruise Industry?
The CDC is fully focused on the medical side of the pandemic so the economic impact does not come into any decision. The cruise industry has received a lot of bad coverage through the pandemic since early 2020 and recently, SeaDream was hit with a COVID-19 situation on the first cruise in the Caribbean since the suspension of operations back in March 2020.
It’s not clear why the CDC increased the level for cruise ship travel now but it comes just days after the SeaDream was all over the media due to several guests being infected by the virus.
What’s Happening Now?
At the moment, cruise lines are slowly moving their ships to U.S. waters to prepare for the resumption of cruises next year. It’s going to take time to get crew members back to the ships along with training them on new health measures.
Trial sailings will need to be completed first and many more aspects to make sure guests and crew remain safe at all times. The cruise lines need to get this right but no matter what, it’s going to be a long and slow return to normality.