CDC says avoid cruise ships, regardless of vaccine status

US health agency says Omicron makes cruise getaways too risky for even the jabbed and boosted

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised its travel health notice to the highest level and advised Americans to "avoid cruise ships, regardless of vaccination status," citing an increased threat of Covid.

The CDC raised its travel health notice regarding cruise ships to Level 4, its highest tier, on Thursday. Citing an increase in coronavirus cases among cruise passengers, the CDC cautioned that “even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19 variants.”

As such, prospective travellers are now advised to “avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status,” a warning that includes those who have received initial Covid inoculation doses as well as booster shots.

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Super-luxurious cruise ship blocked from 2 ports over Covid outbreak

With record numbers of Covid-19 cases being reported across the US, the CDC is currently investigating or observing 91 cruise ships following outbreaks on board.

While the cruise industry was devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, it staged a resurgence this year as some cruise companies required passengers to show proof of vaccination to sail. The jabs haven’t stopped Covid outbreaks on board, however, with infections striking a fully-vaccinated cruise out of New Orleans and another sailing from Florida this month. In the case of the cruise departing Florida, an outbreak among vaccinated crew members led to the vessel being turned away by two islands in the Caribbean.

The CDC’s warning does not force cruise operators to cancel sailings. Passengers who defy the advice and decide to sail anyway are advised by the agency to get vaccinated in advance, wear a mask on board, get tested before and after their voyage, and quarantine upon return to the US.

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