The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just indicated that people should avoid cruise travel, regardless of their vaccination status, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the country.
The agency has raised its COVID-19 health travel advisory for cruise ships to a Level 4, the highest warning level, as there has been a recent increase in reported COVID-19 cases on ships cruising around the world.
âEven fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk of contracting and spreading variants of COVID-19,â the CDC said Thursday.
The agency is investigating cases of COVID-19 on more than 85 ships, according to reports. In fact, between December 15 and December 29, approximately 5,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported by cruise ships in U.S. waters. That’s a significant increase from just 162 cases in the first two weeks of the month, reports CNBC.
The news, of course, is a blow to the cruise industry, which spent more than a year shutting down before resuming cruising last June with security protocols in place across the industry. .
Some of the largest cruise lines in the United States, including Royal Caribbean, Disney and Carnival, did not immediately respond to the CDC’s announcement on Thursday. The stocks of major cruise lines fell in the wake of the news.
However, the week between the Christmas and New Years holidays is generally one of the busiest of the year for the industry.
CDC says passengers who are currently aboard ships should be tested for COVID-19 three to five days after their trip ends, and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after their return. .
An agency representing major cruise lines, Cruise Lines International Association, said it was disappointed with the CDC’s decision.
“We are obviously disappointed with the CDC’s decision to increase the level of travel for cruises today, especially given the overwhelming level of efficiency of cruise protocols which results in a significantly lower level of cases on cruise compared to to land, “Brian Salerno, a representative for the organization, told CNBC.
It is not clear whether any cruise lines will announce cancellations or revisions to their upcoming itineraries.