The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Americans to avoid cruise ships when traveling. The agency emphasized that vaccination status doesn’t matter.
Avoid Cruise Ships While Omicron Rages On
The CDC warning dealt another blow to the reeling cruise industry. Cruise ships recently started taking sail after more than a year in the docks. The pandemic suspended voyages due to fears that COVID can spread easier in close proximity.
Last Thursday, the CDC raised its COVID-19 travel health notice level to its highest warning. The agency noted reports of rising COVID infections across the country.
In particular, the CDC also raised the concern of coronavirus outbreaks on cruises. In fact, the CDC is currently dealing with investigations for 90 ships. A 0.10% COVID infection rate among passengers is enough to trigger a CDC investigation.
More and More Cruise Ships Reporting Infections
Cruise ships operating in US waters reported about 5,000 Covid cases to the CDC between Dec. 15 – 29. This is a major spike compared with the first two weeks of the month. During this time, the industry only reported 162 cases.
Consequently, the CDC sounded the alarm. Early studies show that the Omicron strain spreads faster than other COVID-19 variants. However, Omicron usually produces mild symptoms.
However, this did not deter the CDC from issuing its warning. “It is especially important that travelers who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, regardless of vaccination status,” the agency said.
Cruise Line Stocks Fall After CDC Announcement
As a result, investors began dropping cruise ship industry stocks from their rolls. Shares in Carnival Corp, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, and Royal Caribbean Group share prices all declined during yesterday’s trading session.
The Cruise Lines International Association issued a statement reacting to the CDC advisory. “The decision by the CDC to raise the travel level for the cruise is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population on board,” the group said.
Cruise Companies React To Advisory
Various cruise ship companies also said that it’s different this time. Norwegian Cruise Lines said that guests on its ships have better COVID protection than anywhere else.
Both Norwegian and rival Carnival Cruise Lines said that the CDC’s decision did not impact their scheduled itineraries.
Meanwhile, the CDC advises cruise ship passengers to subject themselves to COVID tests three to five days after disembarking. In addition, they should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for another 14 days.
Omicron Also Impacting Air Travel
In addition to cruise ships, the Omicron strain is also wreaking havoc on airlines. Flight cancellations for the US are now more than 1,180.
In addition, the virus also caused over 10,300 delayed flights as of yesterday. This is according to data from the flight tracker website FlightAware.com.
Watch the CNBC television news video reporting that the CDC advises people to avoid cruises, regardless of vaccination status:
Are you planning on a cruise ship vacation sometime soon? Will you heed the CDC warning and postpone your trip?
Tell us what you think of embarking on a cruise during the time of COVID-19. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.