The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert on Thursday warning Americans to avoid traveling on cruise ships due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and in light of recent outbreaks on cruise liners.
The CDC extended that warning even to fully vaccinated people.
“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,” the CDC said in its alert.
The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has sent U.S. cases of COVID-19 to record levels, though the cases have generally been less severe than during the Delta variant wave. On Wednesday, 488,988 cases of the disease caused by exposure to the coronavirus were reported in the U.S. The CDC is currently monitoring or investigating COVID-19 cases among passengers and staff members on at least 92 cruise ships. Outbreaks on cruises have been commonplace since the start of the pandemic.
In its alert, the CDC specifically warned Americans to stay away from traveling via cruise ships, and advised those who do push ahead with their plans to board ships not to do so unless fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
“Avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status. If you travel on a cruise ship, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel and get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if you are eligible,” the CDC said. “Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself from severe disease, slow the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the number of new variants.”
For those set on taking a cruise, the CDC also recommends wearing a mask while “in shared spaces.” If those warnings alone did not discourage potential passengers, the agency also noted that “foreign health officials may implement formal quarantine procedures if they identify a case of COVID-19 aboard your cruise ship,” adding that “some countries might refuse to dock your ship or allow passengers to disembark.”
After 21 crew members aboard a Holland America cruise tested positive for COVID-19 last week, 1,035 passengers were stranded aboard the ship off the coast of Puerto Vallarta when Mexican officials refused to allow the ship to dock.
In response to the alert issued by the CDC, stock prices for Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings all fell sharply, Bloomberg reported.