Mixed Message? CDC Officials Warn Travelers to Avoid Cruise Ships — Even If They Are Fully Vaccinated
By Space Coast Daily // December 30, 2021
Cruise Lines International Association: CDC advisory 'particularly perplexing'
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised people against going on cruises regardless of their vaccination status
BREVARD COUNTY • PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 4 notice regarding cruise travel on Thursday advising travelers against going on cruises – regardless of their vaccination status.
“Avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status,” the CDC said in the advisory. “Even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”
CLICK HERE to see the CDC’s full statement.
The Cruise Lines International Association said the CDC’s advice to raise the travel level was “particularly perplexing.”
“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,” said Cruise Lines International Association officials in a statement.
The cruise industry was shut down in 2020 due to COVID concerns, and in the U.S., including at Port Canaveral, cruise lines began resuming operations in late June and in July at Port Canaveral.
Royal Caribbean, which currently provides cruises out of Port Canaveral to the Caribbean aboard the Wonder of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, said that only 1,745 passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 since cruises in the U.S. restarted, which is just 0.02% of the 1.1 million passengers served since June.
“The COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level has been updated from Level 3 to Level 4, the highest level,” said the CDC in their update released Thursday. “This reflects increases in cases onboard cruise ships since identification of the Omicron variant.”
Port Canaveral CEO John Murray said the CDC’s announcement was not surprising, considering the rapid increase in community positivity rates.
“Industry safety protocols and practices have been continuously refined since the restart of cruising in July,” said Murray. “Cruise ships are sailing with some of the highest levels of COVID-19 mitigation of any industry or business segment. We continue to work closely with our cruise partners and will support them as necessary.”
Meanwhile, cruise passengers at Port Canaveral seem to be confused by the mixed message the CDC is sending in regard to the veracity of the effectiveness, or even the necessity of being fully vaccinated.
“We have conformed to every CDC and cruise line vaccine recommendation to enable my wife and I to take a New Year’s Eve cruise, and now we are being told by the CDC not to take our long-awaited cruise – even though we are fully vaccinated,” said passenger John Highsmith at Port Canaveral. “If that’s not mixed messaging, I don’t know what is.”
The CDC stressed that cruise passengers should get tested for COVID-19 one to three days ahead of their trip, as well as three to five days afterward. If an individual stepping off of a cruise is unvaccinated, the CDC said that they should quarantine for a full five days.
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