CDC Elevates Warning Level for Popular Caribbean Cruise Destination

The CDC has elevated the COVID-19 risk level for a popular Caribbean destination - are you scheduled to visit, and what does this mean?

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On June 27, 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elevated the COVID-19 travel risk warning for the Dominican Republic from Level 2 (Moderate) to Level 3 (High), indicating greater spread of the disease and stronger risk of transmission for visitors.

Travelers who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations, including eligible booster shots, are now advised to avoid traveling to the Dominican Republic, and it is recommended that all visitors ages 2 and older wear masks in public indoor settings.

Dominican Republic at High Risk of COVID-19

The Level 3 rating from the CDC is now the highest level of travel warning, after the CDC overhauled its warning levels on April 18. With the addition of the Dominican Republic to the list on June 27, 2022, there are now 113 countries around the world at that same classification of travel risk.

The Dominican Republic had previously been classified as Level 2, “Moderate” risk.

Located between Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is a popular and beautiful cruise destination. The two most popular ports are Amber Cove and Puerto Plata, both located on the northwest shore.

CDC Level

Cruise lines calling on the Dominican Republic in the next few weeks include Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, MSC Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises.

At this time, no cruise lines have announced itinerary changes or port cancelations for visits to the Dominican Republic, nor are cruise lines reinstating onboard mask mandates or other elevated health protocols for ships visiting either Amber Cove or Puerto Plata.

Guests can, of course, always choose to wear masks, increase their use of hand sanitizer, or opt to stay onboard when their ship visits any port of call with an elevated risk level.

Other Level 3 Cruise Ports

In addition to the Dominican Republic, other destinations listed as Level 3 include popular Caribbean cruise ports such as Mexico, Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos (Grand Turk), Belize, The Bahamas, Aruba, Bermuda, Curacao, and the Cayman Islands.

Other popular cruise ports elsewhere in the world classified at Level 3 include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and many more.

CDC Sign
Photo Credit: Rob Hainer / Shutterstock

Many of these destinations have been at the Level 3 rating since April 18, 2022, when the CDC first updated its classifications. Threat levels in different parts of the world are constantly being evaluated and updated with the newest countries added to a threat level are at the top of the list, so travelers can check for updates easily on the CDC’s COVID-19 travel health notices webpage.

This travel rating does not mean ports must close or cruise ships must adjust health and safety protocols in order to visit the destinations, including the Dominican Republic. It does, however, provide a guide for individual travelers to evaluate their own risk and comfort levels with visiting different destinations.

If cruise travelers are no longer comfortable visiting destinations with elevated warning levels, they should contact their cruise line about possible cancelation or rebooking options.

About the CDC Warning Levels

Level 3 is currently the most popular classification of COVID-19 risk, with 113 countries currently listed.

In the Level 2 “Moderate” classification, 21 countries are listed, including cruise destinations such as Sweden and Colombia.

The Level 1 “Low” classification has 47 countries listed, including Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic.

Level 4 is reserved for “Special Circumstances” such as new emerging variants of dangerous concern, extremely high case counts, or collapsing healthcare infrastructure, such as overwhelmed hospitals and extreme staff shortages. There are currently no listings for any countries at Level 4.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Dominican Republic

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