The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised Americans to avoid traveling by cruise ships regardless of their vaccination status amid a global surge of coronavirus cases. 

In a statement released Thursday, the health agency’s COVID-19 Travel Health Notice updated the warning from level 3 to level 4, which is the health agency’s highest level of warning. 

The agency stated that vaccinated and boosted individuals are at risk of spreading the virus onboard. 

“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships, and the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose,” the CDC said in its statement. 

The CDC also recommended that those who did travel on a cruise ship get vaccinated and receive their booster shot if eligible. 

The public health agency noted that cruise ship passengers who are not fully vaccinated should self-isolate for five days after returning from travel. 

“People who go on a cruise should get tested 1–3 days before their trip and 3–5 days after their trip, regardless of vaccination status or symptoms,” the CDC said.  

The newest warning comes as the U.S. is currently dealing with record a winter surge of COVID-19 infections brought on by both the highly transmissible omicron variant and holiday gatherings. 

In a statement to CNBC, Brian Salerno, the Cruise Lines International Association’s senior vice president of global maritime policy, said the industry is disappointed with the CDC’s recommendation.  

“We’re obviously disappointed at the CDC’s decision to raise the travel level for cruise today—especially given the overwhelming level of effectiveness of cruise protocols that are resulting in significantly lower level of cases on cruise as compared to land,” Salerno told CNBC.


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