CDC Drops COVID-19 Health Warning for Cruise Ship Travelers
Many cruise lines reacted to the new CDC guidelines with excitement but a hint of caution. Cruise-ship operators welcomed Wednesday’s announcement, which came as many people are making summer vacation plans. News of the CDC’s decision to remove its travel health notice was praised by the Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s largest trade organization. “The decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to altogether remove the Travel Health Notice for cruising recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land, for the first time since March 2020. From the onset of the pandemic, CLIA’s cruise line members have prioritized the health and safety of their guests, crew, and the communities they visit and are sailing today with health measures in place that are unmatched by virtually any other commercial setting.” The CLIA also stated that More than 30 countries have reopened to cruise tourism following the industry’s voluntary suspension of operations due to COVID-19, and additional markets are set to reopen in the coming months. With science-backed protocols at the helm, CLIA and our ocean-going cruise line members continue to work closely with governments around the world to facilitate a smooth resumption of operations — helping to put people back to work and serving as a model of responsible travel. Outbreaks continue to be reported on cruise ships, just as land venues, which conduct random testing before the end of voyages. According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, COVID-19 cases in the United States have been falling since mid-January. States have rolled back mask mandates, putting pressure on federal officials to ease virus-related restrictions, including the travel industry. The CDC emphasizes that travelers should make sure they’re up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines before taking a cruise and to following their ship’s requirements and recommendations. Travelers are urged to check their cruise ship’s COVID case levels and vaccination requirements online before traveling.