After 2 Years, CDC Drops Cruise Travel Notice

'Travelers will make their own risk assessment,' agency says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2022 12:16 PM CDT
After 2 Years, CDC Drops Cruise Travel Notice
Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Horizon cruise ship is shown docked in Miami.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Less than four months after it urged Americans to avoid cruises, the CDC has dropped its public health notice warning of the risks of cruise travel. The notice was first issued two years ago amid coronavirus outbreaks on ships worldwide. The agency "is removing the COVID-19 Cruise Ship Travel Health Notice," though it doesn't mean that cruise travel is now risk-free, spokesperson Dave Daigle tells USA Today. "Travelers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on a cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings," Daigle says.

Daigle says the notice was dropped due to the decline of COVID cases on ships—and on land. Two weeks ago, the CDC lowered its COVID warning for cruise travel to Level 2, indicating "moderate" risk," the Washington Post reports. It was raised to the highest level, Level 4, during the surge in omicron cases and was lowered to Level 3 in February. The CDC's voluntary guidance for travelers, which strongly recommends vaccination, remains in effect. The agency has a color-coded system showing the current COVID status on 106 cruise ships.

The industry group Cruise Lines International Association welcomed the move, saying it "recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land." Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin said the decision is the result of "all of the hard work this industry has done to ensure that we’re offering the safest way to travel." He added that there has been a "major uptick in demand" in recent weeks. (Read more cruise ships stories.)

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