CDC Lifts Warning on Cruise Ship Travel

Robert Preidt and Robin Foster, HealthDay reporters

The agency first warned Americans against traveling on cruise ships in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, and last year said there was an increased risk of infection on overcrowded boats. CBS News reported. While a cruise will always present some risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers will conduct their risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, as they do in all other travel destinations,” the CDC said in a Wednesday statement.

The agency advises passengers to stay informed about vaccinations before boarding a cruise ship and encourages travelers to consult a doctor if they are immunocompromised or at increased risk of serious illness. The CDC’s decision to lift the travel advisory “recognizes the effective public health measures on cruise ships and for the first time since March 2020 is beginning to level the playing field between cruises and similar places on land,” according to industry group Cruise Lines. International Association (CLIA) stated in a statement.

Earlier this year, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean canceled their mask-wearing mandates as COVID-related cases, and deaths declined in the United States. CBS News reported.

Last summer, cruise lines introduced vaccination and testing requirements for ships leaving US ports. But the conditions haven’t stopped passengers from contracting the virus: An unknown number of passengers and crew aboard the Princess cruise in California tested positive last weekend on a 15-day Panama Canal cruise.

In the early days of the pandemic, there were many outbreaks of COVID-19 on cruise lines. The number of people booking cruises has plummeted during the pandemic, with cruise lines collectively losing $63 billion and thousands of jobs in 2020 and 2021.

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