U.S. CDC Discourages Cruise Ship Voyages
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) typically posts travel health notices for countries and other international destinations, not transportation, such as cruise ships.
However, because of the unprecedented nature of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, and the increased risk of virus transmission on cruise ships, the U.S. government is advising U.S. travelers to defer all cruise travel.
On October 21, 2020, the CDC issued a Level 3 Travel Warning which says: ‘Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on several cruise ships.’
Therefore, the ‘CDC recommends that travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide.’
Additionally, the CDC stated recent reports of COVID-19 on cruises highlight the risk of infections to cruise passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships and boats.
Older adults and people of any age with underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes, are at increased risk of severe illness if infected with the novel coronavirus.
Previously, on March 14, 2020, CDC issued a No Sail Order and Suspension of Further Embarkation for cruise ships operating in U.S. waters; the No Sail Order was extended on April 9, 2020, July 16, 2020, and September 30, 2020.
In addition, the U.S. Department of State advises travelers to not go on cruises.
This is a dynamic situation and those traveling by ship may be impacted by travel restrictions affecting their itineraries or ability to disembark or may be subject to quarantine procedures implemented by the local authorities.
While the U.S. government has successfully evacuated hundreds of our citizens in the previous weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities. U.S. citizens should evaluate the risks associated with choosing to remain in an area that may be subject to quarantine and take the appropriate measures.
Passengers who plan to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information on the current rules and restrictions and continue to monitor the travel.state.gov website for updated information.
If you do go on a cruise during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC offers these suggestions:
- Do not board a cruise if you are sick, if you know you have COVID-19, or if you were exposed to a person with COVID-19 in the past 14-days.
- Discuss cruise ship travel with your healthcare provider. Older adults and people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness if infected with the novel coronavirus.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet away from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid self-service buffet dining, if possible. If you must use self-service buffets, clean your hands before serving yourself and again before eating.
- If you get sick with a fever or new or worsening cough or trouble breathing during your cruise, stay in your cabin and notify the onboard medical center immediately.
Moreover, if you were on a cruise in the past 14-days, take extra precautions to protect others for 14-days after arrival, says the CDC.
The CDC suggests international travelers speak with a healthcare provider regarding travel vaccine options, at least 1-month prior to departure.
Vax-Before-Travel publishes research-based travel vaccine news.