CDC updated the COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level from Level 3 to Level 4, the highest level. This reflects increases in cases onboard cruise ships since identification of the Omicron variant.
DC has temporarily extended the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) through January 15, 2022, with minor modifications. The CSO, as modified, applies to foreign-flagged cruise ships operating or seeking to operate in U.S. waters. U.S.-flagged cruise ships previously covered by the CSO may continue to participate voluntarily.
#1 Avoid cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status.
#2 If you travel on a cruise ship, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel and get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if you are eligible.
#3 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.
#4 Along with testing, passengers who are not fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for a full 5 days after cruise travel.
#5 People on cruise ships should wear a mask to keep their nose and mouth covered when in shared spaces.
This determination was made in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases occurring on cruise ships, in the United States, and around the world. In the United States, the 7-day daily average of cases is 240,000 per day, an increase of about 60 percent over the previous week
said a CDC spokesperson.
In addition, CDC reported that between November 30 and December 14, 2021, 162 COVID-19 cases were reported to CDC by cruise ships operating in U.S. waters. Between December 15-29, 2021, 5,013 COVID-19 cases were reported to CDC, 31 times the number of cases from the first two weeks of December to the last two weeks of December.
Furthermore, all cruise ships operating from U.S. ports are also required to register with the CDC and report illness aboard their ships.
However, CLIA does not support the recent development, saying that:
The decision by the CDC to raise the travel level for cruise is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard