New guidance issued for US cruise travellers - Cruise International

New guidance issued for US cruise travellers

By Katie McGonagle | 31 Dec 2021

Cruise industry body Clia has expressed its disappointment over ‘perplexing’ new guidance for US cruise travellers

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which manages public health in the US, updated its Travel Health Notice to level four, the highest available, on December 30, 2021, following an increase in reported Omicron cases on cruise ships.

The government body has now warned passengers to avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status, due to the risk of spreading variants of Covid-19.

The order has been extended until January 15, 2022, and applies to “foreign-flagged cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in US waters”.

It also advises those who do travel by ship to ensure they have received a booster dose if they are eligible, to get tested before and after a trip, and to wear a mask while in shared spaces onboard.

A spokesperson for Clia – the Cruise Lines International Association, an organisation that represents cruise lines in the UK and US – said: “The decision by the CDC to raise the travel level for cruise is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard – far fewer than on land – and the majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or onshore.

“No setting can be immune from this virus – however, it is also the case that cruise provides one of the highest levels of demonstrated mitigation against the virus. Cruise ships offer a highly controlled environment with science-backed measures, known testing and vaccination levels far above other venues or modes of transportation and travel, and significantly lower incidence rates than on land.

“While we are disappointed and disagree with the decision to single out the cruise industry – an industry that continues to go above and beyond compared to other sectors – Clia and our ocean-going cruise line members remain committed to working collaboratively with the CDC in the interest of public health and safety.”

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