The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday has issued new recommendations for cruise travel, and at the top of the list, it’s quite blunt.
The government agency is now recommending that “all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high,” the CDC said in a statement.
It’s obviously an abrupt turnabout in the last month or so after the CDC let its ‘No-Sail Order’ expire and issued a ‘Conditional Sail Order,’ telling cruise lines they could return to the water if certain criteria were met, including so-called test cruises.
Most cruise lines already responded by saying they would not sail until after January 1, 2021, but the interest from the general public remains high.
In recent weeks, however, the coronavirus pandemic has seen a resurgence worldwide. The U.S. just set a daily high in positive tests for the virus, and the increase has been described as “staggering.”
The CDC’s new warning noted that “It is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises. Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.”
According to a report by the Reuters News Agency, data from March 1 through Sept. 28 showed a total of 3,689 confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships and 41 deaths.
The CDC also said that “passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip AND stay home for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 14 days after you travel.”
It likely won’t be until February until passengers are even allowed back on cruise ships sailing out of US ports though.