Following an increase in onboard COVID-19 cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised passengers to avoid cruise travel regardless of vaccination status, in a severe blow to the industry that has been destroyed by the pandemic.
The CDC raised the COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level for cruise ships to 4, the highest level of warning, on Thursday.
“Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” the health agency said.
With cruise ships currently sailing the CDC recommended that passengers be tested for COVID within at least three to five days after their cruise is over, and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.
The CDC has conducted an investigation or initiated an investigation into COVID-19 incidents on more than 85 vessels already. It has lowered the level of warnings to cruises by one step from the most severe level in June, after the cases had decreased.