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CDC Revises Cruise Travel Advisory but Stills Sees ‘High’ Risk

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised its guidance for cruise travel lowering the risk level but still advising travelers to make sure they are up to date with Covid-19 vaccines before boarding a cruise ship.

The CDC moved cruise travel from Level 4 “very high” risk to Level 3 “high” on Tuesday, revising its previous travel warning issued late last year which advised against travel by cruise regardless of vaccination status.

In its guidance the CDC advises against cruise travel for those who are “not up to date” with Covid-19 vaccines or for those who are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus. The agency also suggests travelers check the status of their cruise company’s crew vaccinations as well as the number of Covid cases reported on the specific ship.

In a statement, industry body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) welcomed the new advisory saying it was “a step in the right direction” and that it recognized the leadership and effectiveness of the cruise sector’s health and safety protocols “that are unmatched by virtually any other commercial setting”. CLIA had condemned the CDC’s earlier guidance.

Photo source: Celestyal Cruises

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) however, added that the previous warning was “completely unnecessary”.

“ASTA welcomes the CDC’s action to downgrade its extreme ‘Level 4’ warning against cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status, which we roundly criticized when it was instituted. This level of warning was completely unnecessary given the extraordinarily stringent anti-Covid measures put in place voluntarily by the cruise lines in close consultation with the CDC,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby, calling for a “consistent, predictable regulatory environment for cruise and broader travel industry stakeholders as Covid moves into the endemic phase,”

Earlier this week, the CDC updated its cruise travel guidance after adding criteria that determine risk levels for cruises.

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