The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised travelers against cruise travel on Thursday, even for those who have been vaccinated, triggering a reaction from the cruise industry.
In its latest recommendations, the CDC raised its Covid-19 warning level for cruise travel to the high-risk 4.
Commenting on the announcement, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said the decision was disappointing and “particularly perplexing”, noting that 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 land.
The CDC level 4 guidance, which advises travelers to “avoid cruise travel regardless of vaccination status”, was issued following an increase in Covid-19 outbreaks on ships over the last few weeks and in view of the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Some ports have even turned away ships.
However, CLIA underlines that “the number of 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”.
The CDC is currently monitoring 88 cruise ships following reports of Covid cases onboard.
“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,” said CLIA.
Earlier this year, CLIA and the Greek tourism ministry agreed to kickstart cruise travel to Greece in March 2022.