CDC recommends travelers avoid cruise ships amid increase in COVID-19 cases

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a bulletin recommending that people avoid travel by cruise ship amid increasing cases of COVID-19. The CDC increased its health notice level for cruise ships to “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19,” its highest category.

The bulletin released Thursday said vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers should steer clear of cruise ships, several of which have reported COVID-19 outbreaks in recent weeks.  Said the CDC:  “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.”

Cruise ship travel was shut down at the start of the pandemic in spring 2020, and resumed in June 2021 as COVID-19 cases declined with the arrival of the vaccine.  However, cases have been on the rise in the United States — and worldwide — since then, with 486,428 new cases reported Wednesday, the highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

Multiple cruise lines have reported outbreaks in recent weeks, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line. Last week, several cruise ships were turned away from foreign ports after reporting such outbreaks.

Editorial credit: Business stock /

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