Cruise ship at the pier in Key West, Florida. (photo via cestes001 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it would no longer advise against traveling via cruise ship due to risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
According to USA Today, CDC officials said the agency removed cruise ships from its list of Travel Health Notices after more than two years based on a declining number of COVID-19 infections onboard vessels.
“CDC is removing the COVID-19 Cruise Ship Travel Health Notice,” CDC spokesperson Dave Daigle told 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.”
The Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) director of strategic communications and public affairs Laziza Lambert celebrated the CDC’s removal of the health notice.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to altogether remove the Travel Health Notice for cruising 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, for the first time since March 2020,” Lambert told USA Today.
Daigle revealed the CDC still recommends Americans be fully vaccinated before traveling on cruise ships and follow health and safety protocols developed by each cruise line.
The health agency recommends travelers stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines before traveling on cruise ships and follow cruise line requirements and recommendations.
Earlier this month, the CDC lowered the COVID-19 travel health notice for cruise ships to Level 2, which is a “moderate” risk. With the change, cruise lines returned to offering “passenger interactive experiences” that were previously under suspension.
The CDC’s latest move comes as many destinations are lifting COVID-19 mandates and several cruise lines are lifting mask requirements.