CDC Still Recommends to Avoid All Cruise Travel in Updated Advice

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its advisory notice for cruise ship travel. The level remains very high, and the CDC still recommends that people avoid travel on cruise ships, and it comes after cruise lines have implemented new health measures and proved that cruising can resume safely.

CDC Updates Cruise Travel Advice

The CDC has updated its Cruise Travel page and still says that people should avoid travel on cruise ships worldwide. It says that the chance of getting COVID is high since the virus spread more easily on cruise ships, and the risk level remains very high:

CDC recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. That’s because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships. It is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises.

Still mentioned is that passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread, and outbreaks have been reported on cruise ships. This comes after growing calls from cruise lines, officials, and ports that cruises can resume safely and that new health measures have proved to work in other countries.

CDC Website

It’s also recommended that anyone going on a cruise should get tested and those who are unvaccinated should self-quarantine for 7 days after cruise travel. You can read the full advisory here.

Cruise Hive last reported on the cruise travel advice in November 2020 when the CDC elevated the risk of cruise travel to level 4. it has now remained at that level despite cruise ships proving that they are safe for guests and crew.

CDC Advice in Full

Before you travel:
  • Get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if a vaccine is available to you.
    • People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after a single dose in a one-dose series or last dose in a two-dose series.
  • Get tested with a COVID-19 viral test 1–3 days before your departure, even if you are fully vaccinated.
    • If you test positive, isolate and do NOT travel.
While you are traveling:
  • Stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you. It’s important to do this everywhere—both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are in shared spaces. Masks are required on planes, cruise ships, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports, seaports, and train and subway stations.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, stay in your cabin, and notify the onboard medical center immediately.
If you are returning to an international port or disembarking an international river cruise:
  • Your return travel plans may be impacted. Foreign health officials may implement formal quarantine procedures if they identify a case of COVID-19 aboard your cruise ship.
  • If you travel on a cruise ship or river cruise and disembark in a foreign port, you might not be able to receive appropriate medical care or be medically evacuated if you get sick.
  • Some countries might refuse to dock your ship or allow passengers to disembark.
If you return to the United States by air:
  • All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.
After you travel:

If you are fully vaccinated: 

  • Get tested 3–5 days after your trip.
  • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after travel; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • You do NOT need to stay home and self-quarantine aftr cruise travel.

If you are not fully vaccinated:

  • Get tested 3–5 days after your trip.
  • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after travel; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after cruise travel, even if you test negative.
  • If you do not get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after cruise travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
CDC Flag

Is It Fair for the Cruise Industry?

The advice from the CDC causes more confusion as the Conditional Sailing Order that went into effect on November 1, 2020 remains in place. Currently, the cruise industry in the U.S. remains on hold and major cruise lines have suspended operations through June 2021.

Cruise lines have been working hard during the shut down to implement new safety protocols. All the major lines have setup medical expert panels for advice on making sure cruise ships can sail safely. In fact, many cruise lines have already issued a vaccine requirement for guests and crew to provide a safe cruising bubble. Norwegian Cruise Line has also sent new details to the CDC to allow cruises to resume by July 4, 2021.

The CDC released technical guidelines on April 2 for cruise liens and ports to go through to get cruises going again. However, this caused more frustrations and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has called them “largely unworkable”. Cruise lines are now hoping to avoid the instructions from the CDC and to urge on lifting the Conditional Sailing Order to allow summer cruises.

It is important to note, that the advice from the CDC is not just for cruises from the United States but residents planning on international cruises. However, the majority of international cruising is shut anyway and other countries such as the UK is allowing domestic cruising safely with the cruise line health measures in place.

This advisory updates comes a day after the CDC made some adjustments to its technical instructions. It does seem that there is now a focus on the cruise industry, especially now that even senators have started to push on overruling the CDC.

The situation remains very fluid between the cruise industry and the CDC. Cruise Hive will keep readers updated on any new developments and changes issued from the CDC.

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