The CDC has officially lowered its warning level for cruises, in a move that is bound to be a welcome relief for both the weary cruise industry and cruise enthusiasts alike. The decision to lower the warning levels comes just days after the CDC updated its optional guidelines for the cruise industry, and is the first easing of the industry’s warning level since the spread of the Omicron variant caused chaos to the travel industry around the globe.
With the cruise industry fast on its way back to normal, the announcement by the CDC is sure to bolster traveler confidence in the industry and boost the number of travelers booking cruise trips. Here’s a look at the announcement from the CDC, how it has been received, plus a roundup of other important news stories that have come out of the cruise industry in recent weeks.
Travel Warning Lowered – Information For Travelers
Ever since the Omicron variant started to make headlines around the world for its high transmission rates, the travel industry has suffered as a result. The impact was felt by the cruise industry when, already struggling after cruises were forced to remain docked for large periods during the pandemic, it was handed a Level 4 Travel Health Notice by the CDC, which advises travelers not to go on cruise trips.
Yesterday however, the CDC lowered its warning for cruise travel to Level 3. At this warning level, the CDC advises against cruise travel only for those who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or for those who are at an increased risk of severe illness. A win for the cruise industry, it is bound to increase the confidence in cruising amongst travelers, following several weeks of bad press and negative stories.
Whilst it is positive news for the industry, the CDC still had strong words about the situation. Announcing the decision, they said:”Cruise ship travel is not a zero-risk activity. 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 high, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.” With most cruises operating a 100% vaccinated policy and strict testing requirements, it’s a risk many travelers will feel is worth taking.
The decision to update the warning level coincides with recent changes to cruise entry restrictions posted by some of the industry’s biggest names. Both Norwegian and Royal Caribbean recently updated their policies regarding mask wearing on board their cruises, citing high vaccination levels on board as one of the reasons why, making cruises a much more attractive proposition to travelers.
The update posted by the CDC was well received by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), who said:
“The decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lower the Travel Health Notice threat level for cruise ships is a step in the right direction and recognizes the leadership and effectiveness of the cruise sector’s health and safety protocols that are unmatched by virtually any other commercial setting.”
CLIA went on to add how the industry was well prepared in the event of any Covid-19 related issues.
“Cruise ships have medical, isolation and quarantine facilities on site, implement extensive response plans using private shoreside resources, and have created an environment where almost every single person is fully vaccinated. As a result, cases of COVID-19 are very low with the vast majority mild or asymptomatic—making cruise unequaled in its multi-layered approach to effectively mitigating COVID-19.”
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com