Travelers, regardless of vaccination status, have been advised not to vacation on cruise ships amid the global rise in COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC's updated COVID-19 Travel Health Notice rose from a level three to level four, the highest warning level, as the omicron variant makes its way through the United States, according to a statement from the agency. Even vaccinated and boosted people risk spreading the coronavirus on cruise ships.
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"The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose," according to the CDC.
Individuals who have traveled on cruise ships are recommended to get vaccinated and boosted, and those who are not fully vaccinated are told to isolate for five days after returning home, the agency said.
"People who go on a cruise should get tested 1–3 days before their trip and 3–5 days after their trip, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms," according to the CDC.
Brian Salerno, the Cruise Lines International Association's senior vice president of global maritime policy, said the industry is upset by the CDC's recommendation.
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"We're obviously disappointed at the CDC's decision to raise the travel level for cruise today — especially given the overwhelming level of effectiveness of cruise protocols that are resulting in significantly lower level of cases on cruise as compared to land," Salerno said in a statement.