The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued its most stringent warning, urging Americans to avoid all cruises.
Raising the current warning from Level 3 to Level 4, the updated statement on the federal agency’s website reads: “The CDC recommends that everyone avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high. It is especially important that people at increased risk of serious illness avoid traveling on cruise ships, including river cruises. “
The disclaimer states that since cruise ship travel is generally voluntary, any planned cruise should be rescheduled to a later date. Those who still choose to take ocean or river cruises are advised to take extra precautions, including getting tested 3-5 days before their trip and staying home for 7 days after the trip.
This warning follows a recent outbreak of COVID-19 on the SeaDream I of the SeaDream Yacht Club, the first cruise ship to resume navigation in the Caribbean. Despite rigorous health and safety protocols, 7 passengers on this ship have tested positive for COVID-19.
On October 30, 2020, the CDC lifted a 7-month ban on cruising in US waters, outlining a general plan for the gradual resumption of cruise operations. To resume operations, cruise lines must obtain a COVID-19 conditional sailing certificate guaranteeing compliance with CDC standards. However, the agency noted that approval would be based on changing public health conditions. COVID-19 cases now exceed more than 58 million worldwide.